I visited the Beaufort Castle this December when I was back home in Lebanon. Beaufort Castle is now one of Lebanon’s most famous landmarks.
The entry fee is 7000 LBP.
Beaufort or Belfort Castle, known locally as Qal’at al-Shaqif or Shaqif Arnun, is a Crusader fortress in Nabatieh Governorate, Southern Lebanon, about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) to the south-south-east of the village of Arnoun. It is a 1.30 hours drive from Beirut.
Its Arabic name Qala’at al-Shaqif means “Castle of the High Rock”. The castle was named bel fort or beau fort (French for “beautiful fortress”) by the Crusaders who occupied the castle in the 12th century. Despite the external ruin, the inside of the castle is well preserved.
There was a fortification on the site before it was captured by Fulk, King of Jerusalem, in 1139 and construction of the Crusader castle probably began soon after.
Saladin captured Beaufort in 1190, but 60 years later Crusaders re-took it. In 1268, Sultan Baibars finally captured the castle for the Islamic forces.
It passed once more into the hands of the Arabs and in 1610 prince Fakhredin II of Lebanon, strengthened its fortifications and made it a storehouse for his treasures. It was largely destroyed by Jarkass Pasha. In 1629, Emir Fakhredin II asked for its reconstruction and restoration from the Grand Duke of Florence.
Beaufort provides one of the few cases where a medieval castle proved of military value and utility also in modern warfare, as its late 20th-century history shows.
The Magical View
The Beaufort Castle overlooks the Litani River, which flows past it on the east. The castle offers amazing panoramic views of southern Lebanon and northern Palestine.