Monfort Fort

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Monfort Fort

Monfort Fort is the ruins of a 13th century Crusader fortress in the Upper Galilee in Israel. The fortress is ...

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Monfort Fort is the ruins of a 13th century Crusader fortress in the Upper Galilee in Israel. The fortress is located in the Nahal Kziv nature reserve. The ruins of the fortress, perched majestically on a cliff above the Kziv river.

Following the first Crusade in 1099 the French De Milly family was given the area and then began to farm the land and build an agricultural town in nearby Mi’ilya. In 1187, the Muslims conquered it. In 1192, the Crusaders re-conquered the town during the third Crusade, and returned the town to the De Milly family. The De Milly family restored the site and built a castle in 1226.

The fort was sold to the Teutonic Knights who were forced out of Akko by the two other orders who despised them. Looking for a new home, they bought and built the fortress in Montfort in 1229, to defend the nearby agricultural village in Mi’ilya. The Teutonic Knights renamed Montfort, calling it Starkenberg, meaning “Strong Mountain”. The Teutonic Knights built a keep in the center, and used this as their base.

In 1266, the Mamluk Baybars unsuccessfully attempted to conquer Montfort, but succeeded in a second attempt in 1271. The fortress was destroyed, but the knights were permitted to withdraw to Akko. The fortress was destroyed to prevent re-occupation.

Notes:

  1. The fortress is only accessible by foot.
  2. The red path from Goren Park Lookout to Monfort Castle takes about 45 minutes in each direction. The path descends to the Kziv river and then ascends to the lookout. The river needs to be crossed; there are large stones which can assist in fording the river. The red path continues to the Hila parking lot. Alternatively, you can return to Park Goren.
  3. Monfort Fortress can be seen from the Goren Park lookout.
  4. To get to Goren Park, take route 899; the park is located just west of Goren. Route 899 can be reached from route 89 from Safed. Alternatively, if you are coming from the coastal road, take route 89 east to Kabri, then route 70 north until you reach route 899.
  5. There is no entrance fee.
  6. Goren Park has other paths for hiking as well as picnic areas. Simple camping facilities are also available.