Featured Photo

11th-century castle abandoned to beauty

Exploring the spectacular Montfort Castle awakens the 'Indiana Jones' in all of us.

December 11, 2015 | Latest Photo Prev Next
Montfort castleMontfort castlePhoto: vad_levin / Flickr
December 11, 2015 | Latest Photo

The sun breaks through a pattern of haunting shadows on a cliff, and you're temporarily blinded by a green hilltop that looks like it's swirling around a mountain. Only after a moment do you notice a peculiar structure near the top of one of the hills: the Montfort.

This castle, which was built on a narrow and steep cliff in Israel's Upper Galilee, started out as an agricultural farm.

Around year 1099 A.D., the noble French De Milly family received the land and began to cultivate it, turning it into a farming estate. The property was eventually turned into a castle, complete with towers and residential buildings and even a vaulted hall.

The castle disappeared into the historical ether for a thousand years and reappeared in 1926 when Bashford Dean, curator of the Arms and Armour Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, excavated it.

During the 21st century, archaeologists caught the excavation bug, and since 2011, many excavations have been carried out by people like Professor Adrian Boas from the University of Haifa and students from the University of London.

The site is now a national park inside the Nahal Kziv nature reserve; it's a major tourist destination attracting many visitors from inside and outside Israel.

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Related Topics: Archaeology, Environment, National Parks, Travel