Built by a group of French Crusaders, the Belvoir fortress stands in an area of northern Israel called the Heights of Issachar. East of Belvoir, across the Rift Valley, are the mountains of Gilead.
The fort itself was constructed high above the Rift Valley, isolated from the nearby farmlands and roads. Surrounded by a moat, and built with an outer and inner fortress, Belvoir looks like a European fortress transplanted onto Israel?s soil.
Click here to see a diagram of Belvior
About 50 knights and 450 soldiers lived in Belvoir, along with their families and staff. These Crusaders eventually faced opposition from Saladin, a Muslim warrior who had wrested control of Jerusalem from the Crusaders. Saladin laid siege to Belvoir in 1180, and the fortress withstood the siege for about four years.
In 1187, the siege began anew. After a few more years, the knights of Belvoir finally surrendered. They left the fortress and were given free passage to the coast, where they sailed back to Europe.