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Saint Louis Castle

  • monument

Saida, Saida district

The ruins of this once-impressive castle stand on a mound to the south of Saida, in southern Lebanon. The present structure dates back to the Crusaders, who built on the site of an earlier Fatimid fortress, as reflected in the local name, Qalaat Al-Muizz, which means Fortress of Al-Muizz.   This name came from the Fatimid caliph Al-Muizz li-Din Allah, who fortified the site. The English-French name, St. Louis, comes from Louis IX, who rebuilt and then occupied the fortress when he retook Saida from the Ayyubids in 1253. The hill on which the castle is situated is thought to have been the ancient acropolis of Sidon (Saida). Archaeologists have uncovered remains of a theatre here, but the site remains largely unexcavated. There is a low wall, with an entrance gate, around the base of the hill. The fortress is now being extensively restored.