In the southern region of Lebanon, on the road to Nabatiyeh, about 7 km from the coast, is Château Beaufort. This picturesque monument is generally visited after a mandatory visit to the city of Saïda. It is located near the village of Arnoun, and stands on top of a hill. A visit is essential.
The citadel of Beaufort, also known as Qalaat Chaqif Arnoun, stands on a promontory located 710 m above sea level. At this height, you have an impregnable view of the whole region, including the Litani valley.
If the exact history of the castle remains unknown, we know some characteristics drawn from the legendary history of Lebanon. William of Tire cites the Crusaders, but others say the monument dates back to the Roman or Byzantine era. The castle was then restored and enlarged by the Arabs and then fortified by the Crusaders. In the end, Lebanon acquired a citadel of which it remains proud to this day.
Beaufort Castle has seen a succession of many residents. First the King of Jerusalem, Fulk of Anjou, who stole the show from the Governor of Damascus who, in turn, ceded it to the Crusader Lords of Sidon in 1138. Saladin then took up residence there in 1190 after a two-year siege. Subsequently, the citadel was taken over by the Crusaders in 1240 following an agreement signed with the governor of Damascus, al-Saleh Ismail. In 1260 the castle was perfected by the Knights of the Order of the Temple to the Lord of Sidon. After being inhabited by the Mamluk Sultan al-Zaher Baybars in 1268, it fell completely into oblivion.
Emir Fakhreddine decides to restore the monument in the 17th century. It was restored and fortified before being besieged by the Wali of Damascus Hafez Pasha who bombarded it. New work was started in the early 1970s by the antiquities department, but a new bombardment also took place in 1982 by the Israeli air force.
The architectural components of the site have remained intact despite the numerous destructions it has suffered. Two beautiful towers are still visible at the corners of the south wall. This wall rests on a glacis built of polished stones, surrounding the rock base of the citadel. To reach the top of the citadel, visitors pass through the main entrance located to the east. At the southern end of the castle is a lookout post. But this is all that remains of Beaufort Castle, the interior of which has completely fallen into ruin.