Want to go on excursions without breaking the bank in Lebanon? Why not take the road north of Beirut, leading towards Tripoli through the Nahr al-Jawz valley, to reach the castle of Mseilha? Known at the time of the Crusaders under the name of Puy du Connétable, or Passe-Saint-Guillaume, this building, created around 1624, was dedicated to the Emir Fakhr al-Din (1572-1632), in homage to his revolution against the Ottoman power.
The small castle of Mseilha rises on a rocky peak ideally located near a stream which dries up in the summer. Called "Kalaat Mezbaheh" in the 19th century, this castle would have served as a garrison at the end of the battle of Hittine. Even if its historical origin remains uncertain to this day, the site has undeniable similarities with the Cathar castles. Despite its redesign by the Emir Fakhr-al-Din, around 1624, certain architectural elements typical of the Crusader period, such as firing slots, remain visible on the facade of the castle of Mseilha.
A narrow path cut into the rock leads to the castle of Mseilha. The site is accessible free of charge to the public. Upstairs, there are several rooms with their vaults, chasms, small stairs, an impressive defense system and casemates. Dark corridors and rooms connect these different rooms. Only the archers have access to a little light.
The firing slots, which date from the period of the Crusades, are mainly concentrated at the southwest corner of the castle. According to some researchers, a chapel was also built at the southeast corner of the castle. But there is (almost) nothing left.
Near the castle, there is a bridge dating from the same period as the castle. By its presence, the site has a picturesque air. Even abandoned and neglected, the environment of the site remains favorable for excursions with family or friends.