Based in Western Syria in Hama’s Province, the Castle of Masyaf was built during the Byzantium Empire at the top of chalky spur. It oversees the plain and the village (now our day the old city of Masyaf) located below. Its strategic position allowed its inhabitants the control of the whole region, its early uses were for defensive purposes.
The fortress is still well known for being the head quarter of the Ismaili cult. In 1163, Sinan, also known as “the elder of the mountain” their most famous leader made this fortress his home, from which he sent his “suicide units”. Many other fortresses were in the hands of the Ismaili: Qadmous, Qalaat Allaiqa, Khariba, etc.
Saladin first sultan of Egypt and Syria, funder the Ayyubid dynasty, laid siege to the castle in 1176 AD. But finally gave up quickly, maybe because of reprisal threats, and finally continued his military campaign in Northern Syria.
But the Ismailis aren’t invincible: in 1260 AD, Masyaf and three other fortresses under their control, surrendered to the Mongol invaders and again to the Mamelukes in 1273.
Since the beginning of the years 2000, the site became the object of multiple excavation and restauration.
Partnering with the DGAM and in pour digitalization of Syrian sites project; Iconem has done a complete numerical census inside and outside of the citadel, except for a few rooms. Thanks to drone a list of each elevation has been completed.
This monumental building is still now our days in an excellent state of conservation.