Some kilometres away from the Krak with magnificent view of the valley, but not the Krak itself. 72 € for three persons in low season.
Krak des Chevaliers was the easternmost of five Crusader fortifications guarding the only major pass (known as the 'Homs Gap' in the Orontes river Valley) between Antakya in Turkey and Beirut in the Lebanon. The castle was built and expanded at Qal'at al-Hisn by the Order of the Knights of St John in the years between 1142 and 1271. It covers 3 hectares in area and, at the height of its powers, it housed a garrison of up to 2000 men. The castle held out against several fierce attacks (including one by the famous Saladin), and was rumoured to be impregnable. The Krak, however, was eventually lost by the naive crusaders to the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1271, who tricked the defenders into abandoning the castle by means of a faked letter from the Crusader Count of Tripoli.
The castle has two main parts: an outer wall with 13 towers and an inner wall and keep. The two walls are separated by a moat (now full of stagnant water), which was used to fill the baths and water the horses. Walk through the main entrance, an imposing gate in the 5m (16ft) thick wall and past the towers which defended the castle, and you enter a courtyard. A corridor covered in delicate carvings leads to a large vaulted hall, where you can see an old oven, a well and some latrines. The chapel in the courtyard was converted to a mosque after Sultan Baybars captured the castle - it still retains its pulpit (mihrab). The top floor of the Tower of the Daughter of the King is now a café with great views.