(April 26, 2011) Today we took a trip to a local ruins, Yehiam fortress (known by the Arabs as “Khirbat Jiddin” and by the Crusaders as “Judyn”).
It is found between Ma’alot and the Mediterranean Sea. It neighbors the famous Monfort Castle and was built on the remains of a Roman fort. Yehiam fortress was then built up by the Crusaders and called “Judyn”.
The Teutonic Knights of Germany reinforced Judyn but lost the castle to the Mammeluke Sultan, Baybars, in 1265. Local ruler, Sheik Mahd el-Hussein rebuilt parts of it about 500 years later and then in 1738 it was taken over by Dahr el-Omar a Bedouin sheik who ruled the Galilee in his time. In 1946, Jews from the village of Yehiam used the aged castle as a fortress against the onslaught of Arabs.
An IDF operation relieved the villagers and now the site is preserved as a National Park.
We toured the castle, both the grounds and the tower that overlooks the surrounding area for miles. Many parts are still in ruins and overgrown with foliage but some areas have been cleared and restored to a setting resembling the early days of the castle. There is a beautiful reception area built in 1700s by Dahr el-Omar which is currently used for tourism.
Here are some more pictures of the fortress, a structure home to three of the world’s biggest religions.
Yehiam Fortress is just one of the crusader ruins nearby. The Galil was the centre of operations for the Crusaders when they were holed up in Akko (Acre) unable to press further south to Jerusalem.
More castles, forts and buildings to be explored!