Castles and fortifications in Israel

Tower of David

The Tower of David is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to western edge of the Old City of Jerusalem. The citadel that stands today dates to the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. It was built on the site of an earlier ancient fortification of the Hasmonean, Herodian-era, Byzantine and Early Muslim periods, after being destroyed repeatedly during the last decades of Crusader presence in t ...
Founded: c. 700 BC | Location: Jerusalem, Israel

Hospitaller Commandery of Saint-Jean-d'Acre

The commandery of Saint-Jean-d"Acre is a monumental complex founded by the Hospitallers. From the first years of the establishment of the Crusaders in the city, the Hospitallers received donated properties. In 1110, King Baldwin granted the permission to them to keep the buildings located to the north of the Sainte-Croix church. In the years 1130, the buildings were damaged during works near the church and the Hospit ...
Founded: 1110 | Location: Acre, Israel

Jerusalem Ramparts Walk

The current walls around the Old City of Jerusalem were built in the 16th century. However several earlier structures existed, and the remnants of these were incorporated into the new walls. Today tourists can walk around most of the ramparts (excluding the part that passes the Golden Gate); entrance is at the Jaffa Gate.
Founded: Mostly 16th century | Location: Jerusalem, Israel

Knights' Halls

The Crusader structures called the Knights" Halls or the Citadel of Acre originally served as the Knights Hospitaller Compound. They extend over an area of c. 8,300 square meters. Archeological remains from the Hellenistic Period (300-63 BC), from the Early Arab Period (638-1099 CE), to a large extent from the Crusader Period (1291-1104 CE) and primarily from the 13th century, were uncovered in the compound area. I ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Acre, Israel

Damascus Gate

Damascus Gate is one of the main entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located in the wall on the city"s northwest side where the highway leads out to Nablus, and from there, in times past, to the capital of Syria, Damascus. In its current form, the gate was built in 1537 under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Beneath the current gate, the remains of an earli ...
Founded: 100-200 CE | Location: Jerusalem, Israel

Golden Gate

The Golden Gate, as it is called in Christian literature, is the only eastern gate of the Temple Mount and one of only two that used to offer access into the city from that side. It has been walled up since medieval times. The date of its construction is disputed and no archaeological work is allowed at the gatehouse, but opinions are shared between a late Byzantine and an early Umayyad date. The Hebrew name of th ...
Founded: 520 CE | Location: Jerusalem, Israel

Tower of Flies

The Tower of Flies was a formidable guard tower/fort at the medieval city-port of Acre, which overlooked the harbour from a small island and protected the city’s rich maritime trade. It also served as a lighthouse. Its precise origins are unknown, but it is an ancient structure, most likely built in Phoenician times. It was the Crusaders of Europe that redeveloped the tower to the height of its prowess during a re-fort ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Acre, Israel

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Gruyères Castle

The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.

In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.

The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.

A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.