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Templar Fortified Towns in Outremer


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Templar Fortified Towns in Outremer



The Templars’ most important possession, and their headquarters, was on the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem – the site of the Temple of Solomon, from which they took their name. This stood at the south-eastern corner of the walled city of Jerusalem. A recently cleared tunnel near the south-eastern corner of the Haram al-Sharif was perhaps a ‘secret’ entrance to the Templars’ fortified headquarters, used during emergencies.  From Crusader Castles in the Holy Land 1097 - 1192

Bishop William of Tortosa gave the castle and fief of Tortosa to the Templars in 1152.

An attack on Tortosa by Saladin in 1188 was repulsed. Tortosa was abandoned by the Templars on 13th August 1291 as being indefensible following the fall of Acre the previous May and the Templars retreated to the island of Cyprus, leaving behind a contingent in the fortifications on the island of Ru'ad off Tortosa.

There is a History Channel  documentary, in their Lost Worlds Series, called Knights Templar which is mainly concerned with an exploration of the Knights templar citadel in Tortosa

In their base in the coastal town of Tortosa (mod.
Tart‰s, Syria), they strengthened the twelfth-century fortress
by constructing a curtain wall with massive oblong towers
and improving the defenses of the square keep by the addition
of shooting galleries. In the court there were an elegant
chapel, halls, and a chapter house, now incorporated in the
fabric of the houses of the town. - The Crusades; An Encyclopedia

Tortosa (Syria)
Tortosa (mod. Tart‰s, Syria) was a small port town at the
northern end of the county of Tripoli.
The town was acquired by the Order of the Temple, probably
in the 1150s. It was surrounded by walls (which have
now largely disappeared) and contained a twelfth-century
cathedral, now a museum. This is one of the most perfect
surviving examples of Frankish ecclesiastical architecture in
a simple early gothic style with a pointed barrel-vaulted roof.
At the northwest corner of the city, the Templars built a castle.
The twelfth-century donjon was strengthened (probably
between 1202 and 1212) by the addition of shooting galleries
and a bailey surrounded by ditches and a double curtain wall
with rectangular interval towers. The inner walls rose to the
height of 25 meters (82 ft.) and were equipped with vaulted
galleries and arrow slits at two different levels. In the interior
there were a chapter house and chapel with ribbed vaulting,
now incorporated into the houses of the town. The Templars
held Tortosa until 3 August 1291, when it was finally
abandoned, two months after the fall of Acre to the
Maml‰ks. The Templars held the small offshore island of
Ruad (mod. Arwąd, Syria) for the next ten years.
–Hugh Kennedy
 - The Crusades; An Encyclopaedia





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