Homs is a stop we made solely to get to Craq de Chevaliers, a fortress built and maintained by successive forces. It's the largest of its kind in the world and was never conquered. Unlike Mount Nemrut in Turkey, this was a very worthwhile detour. We did not do much else in Homs. Unlike Turkey, where riding was part of the experience, Syria is one big sandbox, so we roll from one stop to the next it seems. We even encountered some twisty roads today, which was a nice surprise.
From a distance, Craq de Chevaliers is hard to miss. It's very impressive and from the top, the views stretch well into Lebanon.
The main part of the fortress consists of vaulted galleries which were divided up in a number of areas, such as a kitchen, horse stables and living quarters. Most of the interior structure was still intact with few signs of restoration.
Some Gothic structures, presumably from a church, accentuate the European influence.
A lot of the place has been restored, especially noticeable when looking down from the main tower. Presumably most of the new roofs are there to prevent moisture from eroding the lower areas. It looks like the existing structures were used and patched up where possible. That said, you need to watch your step. Slippery and well-worn circular stone staircases make for excellent potential lawsuit material. But not in this country. Stepping back to take a better picture in what looks like a perfectly safe spot can land you 50 feet down a hole, unmarked and undoubtedly the resting place of many a hapless tourist. All those backpacks in "lost and found"...
The outer walls are a mere 12 meters thick. If one were to teleport a few machine guns back in time, it's easy to imagine the place could be held by a handful of soldiers.
Next on the list of places to see is Palmyra, the supposedly most remarkable tourist attraction in Syria.