“Wow, the view from here is absolutely fantastic!” was my first thought, and then I entered the white fortress and smiled to myself as I realized this is a perfect place for kids to explore. Oh yeah, you gotta bring the kids!
As part of our study about water sources in Israel, we came to the Sharon region, a division of the Coastal Plateau and as it turns out, home to some awesome fortresses!
Migdal Tsedek is a fortress on a hill overlooking the ancient Via Maris (the Way of the Sea), the road which led from Cairo in Egypt to Damascus in Syria. Anyone who was anybody in the Ancient World and wanted to conquer this land came through here; Philistines, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Ottomans, the British, you name them, they were here.
Thutmose III, Pharaoh of Egypt (1479 to 1425 bce), rode by here on his chariot on his way to attack the city of Meggido!
Which makes standing on this hill and looking out towards the Mediterranean, so exciting. It is perfectly clear why this place was chosen, over and over again, generation after generation. If you want to control the roads, you set up right here…
The road in the background is Hwy 6, a modern highway built along the ancient Via Maris. The cities on the horizon are Petah Tikva, then Ramat Gan and eventually Tel Aviv. It was a beautiful day and we were even able to see the high rise buildings along the Mediterranean shore, 14 km away.
The present citadel was built by the Crusaders and named Mirabel, and it exemplifies classic Crusader architecture, 4 large walls, large inner patio and beautiful arches. When the Ottomans took it over, they rehabbed with smaller stones, added some rooms and a bit of flurry to their arches.
I enjoyed climbing the staircases, exploring small rooms with arched windows, taking in the view from every possible angle. This newly refurbished citadel is a delight!