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Aakkar el Aatiqa Castle

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Aakkar el Aatiqa, Aakkar district

Situated 24 kilometers from Halba, the Aakkar el Aatiqa Castle, in the north, sits atop a hill between the two dramatically deep valleys of Akkar and the two Ostwan creeks. It is somewhat difficult to access due to the lack of roads in the region. Probably built in the late 10th century A.D. by Mouhriz Ibn Akkar, the castle was taken by the Crusaders in the 12th century and re-conquered in 1271 by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars. Following the attacks of Prince Fakhreddine in the 17th century, the fortress was destroyed and only a few passages, arcades, rooms, canals and rock-engraved graveyards remain. The view of the surrounding area is splendid. On the outskirts of Akkar Al-Atiqa is Ghazarta Church, built during the Byzantine Empire. Close by, on the top of a hill in the Hilsban Valley, are the ruins of an ancient temple that later became the church Deir Hilsban (Mar Sarkis w Bakhos) which was used by early Christians and Crusaders.