Saturday, May 8, 2010

Khirbet Qarta (Dustrey)

I dragged myself out of bed this morning. My 50 year old body was still recovering from partying hard. I took off for Atlit as my brand spanking new "Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land", bought for me by the squints, said there is some interesting stones in the area. True, these are mostly Crusader ruins which I don't find quite as interesting as Pre-history but it's quite close and an easy drive. I had a fine time clambering over the rocks and shrubs and communing with cows.

This is the view from the observation tower near Khirbet Qarta. This Crusader castle was built after the smaller one at Qarta, but unfortunately it's slap bang in the middle of the most secret army base and so there is no access. It looks quite composing from a distance.
This is Khirbet Qarta (or Dustrey) it's on a hill about one KM from the sea in a nice little park (if you ignore the trash and drug paraphernalia). It's build on a sandstone hill and is quite small. It was built in 1118 CE before the big castle pictured above (which was built around 1220 CE) and was a sort of police station used to deter robbers and pirates that preyed on the local traders. In fact it was built after the Crusader King Baldwin I was nearly killed here by bandits in 1102.
These are the stables which are impressively cut into the sandstone cliffs. They housed the fort's horses and you can still see the troughs they would eat out of.
I believe those holes in the side of the cliffs near the stables are for wooden ceiling beams. Although they do seem a little close together to be multiple story so I'm not sure.
This is the cistern at the top of the hill which is where the small courtyard of the fort is situated. There are quite steep walls surrounding the top on all sides.
This is the fort from one corner.
This is another corner. Quite an imposing structure and built to last.
The whole family was sleeping so I was all alone except for my friends the cows. They certainly checked me out. There is a really nice nature trail around the fort and when I came back home I found this pdf file of the free info booklet (in Hebrew) they promised to have in the little box near the beginning of the trail. Except that all there was in box was a frightened lizard, some empty cigarette boxes and a crushed maccabi beer can.

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