chapter  7
40 Pages

A Bulwark Never Conquered: The Fortifications of the Templar Citadel of Tortosa on the Syrian Coast

The modern harbour town of Ṭarṭūs on the Syrian coast still preserves substantial parts of the former Templar citadel of Tortosa within its historic town centre. Although of the utmost importance for the fortification history of the military orders in the Levant, its remains have not been adequately explored.1 They were

1 Emmanuel G. Rey, Étude sur les Monuments de l’Architecture Militaire des Croisés en Syrie et dans l’Ile de Chypre, Collection des documents inédits sur l’histoire de France, Sér. VI: Publi cations archéologiques (Paris, 1871), pp. 69-83; Max van Berchem, Edmond Fatio, Voyage en Syrie, Mémoires de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale du Caire, 37 (vol. I/2, Le Caire, 1914), pp. 320-35; Paul Deschamps, Les Châteaux des Croisés en Terre Sainte, vol. I: Le Crac des Chevaliers. Étude historique et archéologique, Bibliothèque archéologique et historique, 19 (Paris, 1934), pp. 59-61; Wolfgang Müller-Wiener, Castles of the Crusaders (New York, Toronto, 1966), pp. 50-1; Paul Deschamps, Les Châteaux des Croisés en Terre Sainte, vol. III: La Défense du Comté de Tripoli et de la Principauté d’Antioche. Étude historique, géographique, toponymique et monumentale, Bibliothèque archéologique et historique, 90 (Paris, 1973), pp. 287-92; HenriPaul Eydoux, Les Châteaux du Soleil. Forteresses et Guerres des Croisés (Paris, 1982), pp. 171-5; Hugh Kennedy, Crusader Castles (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 132-8; Michael Braune, ‘Die mittelalterlichen Befestigungen der Stadt Tortosa/Ṭarṭūs. Vorbericht der Untersuchungen 19811982’, Damaszener Mitteilungen, 2 (1985): pp. 45-54; Kazimierz Pospieszny, ‘Tortosa (Syrien) und Lucera (Apulien), die idealen Residenzkastelle der Kreuzzügezeit. Eine Untersuchung nach militärischen Aspekten’, Château Gaillard: études de castellologie médiévale, 19. Actes du Colloque International de Graz (Autriche), 22-29 août 1998 (Caen, 2000), pp. 243-6; Michael Braune, ‘Die mittelalterliche Stadtanlage von Tortosa (Tartus)’, in Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Damaskus (ed.), Tartus und sein Hinterland. Archäologische Forschungen in der syrischen Küstenregion von der Antike bis ins Mittelalter (Damascus, 2001), pp. 65-73; Mourad Bouteflika, Tartous – Syrie. Lecture stratigraphique et restauration urbaine (PhD, Bari, 2004); Michael Braune, ‘Die mittelalterliche Befestigung der Stadt Tortosa/Ṭarṭūs’, in Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient-Abteilung, Außenstelle Damaskus (ed.), Orte & Zeiten. 25 Jahre archäologische Forschung in Syrien 1980-2005 (Damascus, 2005), pp. 66-71; Mathias Piana,

investigated for the first time by modern scientific standards in 1981/82 by Michael Braune who published the first general plan based on a detailed survey of the extant remains.2 As at that time access to certain sections of the citadel was more restricted than subsequently, this work left several open questions. Therefore, new investigations were launched, facilitated by cleaning works inside the great keep on the sea side and the removal of adjoining structures.3 Based on Braune’s records,4 a detailed cadastral plan of the town, drawn by the French administration in 1930, and surveys on site, a revised plan of the defence works of the former Templar citadel and the adjacent town could be established.