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The Mseilha Fort also known as “Puy du ConnĂ©table” is a medieval fortification situated north of the city of Batroun. The current fort was built by Emir Fakherddine II in the 17th century to guard the route from Tripoli to Beirut. The fort is built on a long, narrow limestone rock near the Nahr el-Jawz River.

Its walls are constructed with small sandstone blocks quarried from the nearby coast and built onto the edge of the limestone rock. The thickness of the walls ranges from 1.5 to 2 meters (4 to 6.5 feet). The larger limestone blocks are the only remains of an earlier structure probably built for the same defensive reason.

batroun fort

batroun fort

 

 

Following the collapse of the promontory of Ras ech-Chaqa’a (also known as Theoprosopon) in 551 A.D., the coastal road linking the cities of Batroun, El-Heri and Tripoli completely disappeared, transforming the northern shoreline into a high sea cliff.

Batroun Fort

 

batroun fort

 

Consequently, a new road bypassing the promontory from the east was necessary to ensure communication between Batroun and the North. Crossing the Nahr el-Jawz valley, this road turns around Ras ech-Chaqa’a promontory to reach the other side at a spot near El-Heri called Bab el-Hawa (meaning the “door of the wind”). Building edified strongholds along this new road was of great strategic and military importance in order to preserve security and ensure communication and traffic control. The Mseilha Fort was built for such purposes.

batroun fort

Mseilha fort

 

Mseilha Fort

 

A number of scholars have studied the history and architecture of Mseilha. Some assume that the rock on which the fort stands was used since ancient times as a military position. However, the fort does not include in its current construction any element related to an earlier period, even the Crusades. The construction techniques, cutting methods, stone block sizes, low arched doors and windows, in addition to the other elements suggest the 17th century as the earliest period for the current structure to have been built. The work of several prominent historians and scholars confirms that the Mseilha Fort is not more than 400 years old.

Therefore, the year 1624 is established by both historians and eyewitness reports as the construction date of Mseilha by Fakhr ed-Dine II.

Batroun Fort

Batroun Fort