Cursat Castle

Cursat Castle, locally known as Kozkalesi, Qalaat Qoseir or Kürsat Kalesi, lies on a hill near the village of Kozkalesi in the province of Hatay in Turkey.

Cursat Castle was first mentioned in 1133 when it was taken by Fulk, King of Jerusalem.

Later, around 1155 the castle was used by Aimery of Limoges, the Latin Patriarch of Antioch, to store his treasures and take refuge in times of trouble. This sometimes earned the castle the name of 'Castrum Patriarchae' (Patriarch's Castle). In 1165 Aimery withdrew to Cursat Castle when Prince Bohemond III of Antioch had to install a Greek patriarch in Antioch on the urgings of his brother-in-law, the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos.

In 1170 this Greek patriarch died from his injuries following a terrible earthquake that devastated Syria. Bohemond then came to Cursat Castle to do penance and to ask Aimery to return to Antioch. In 1180 however, Bohemond was excommunicated by Aimery, on the orders of Pope Alexander III, for matters in his private life. This angered Bohemond and he sieged Cursat Castle were Aimery had again sought refuge. He took the castle, imprisoned Patriarch Aimery and other bishops and looted their churches.

In 1188 Cursat Castle and its lands were spared by Saladin, the Ayyubid Sultan who was conquering the Principality of Antioch, after Aimery had paid him off.

In 1256 the castle was strengthened. Its defenses were so strong that it resisted a siege by the troops sent by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars in 1268 while the latter was besieging Antioch. The castle was then given by the patriarch to a certain Sir William, who had friendly relations with neighboring Muslim emirs and especially with a Muslim governor. This governor then interceded on William's behalf with Baibars. Baibars then spared the castle as long as William shared its revenues with the neighboring Muslims. Later William became a monk after the death of his wife and in 1275 Cursat Castle was again under siege. Its garrison surrendered to the Mamluk army after a tight blockade. Up until the 15th century the castle was occupied by a Mamluk warden. After that is was probably abandoned.

At present the castle, occupying a large mound, is in ruins which is mostly the result of earthquakes. The most notable remains are the two D-shaped towers which date back to the building campaign of 1256. On top of the mound only wall foundations, vaults and cisterns are to be found. The castle is freely accessible. This is a great 'forgotten' castle ruin, a little off the beaten track.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.castles.nl/cursat-castle#sigFreeId011b202b53

Cursat Castle

Cursat Castle, locally known as Kozkalesi, Qalaat Qoseir or Kürsat Kalesi, lies on a hill near the village of Kozkalesi in the province of Hatay in Turkey.

Cursat Castle was first mentioned in 1133 when it was taken by Fulk, King of Jerusalem.

Later, around 1155 the castle was used by Aimery of Limoges, the Latin Patriarch of Antioch, to store his treasures and take refuge in times of trouble. This sometimes earned the castle the name of 'Castrum Patriarchae' (Patriarch's Castle). In 1165 Aimery withdrew to Cursat Castle when Prince Bohemond III of Antioch had to install a Greek patriarch in Antioch on the urgings of his brother-in-law, the Byzantine emperor Manuel I Komnenos.

In 1170 this Greek patriarch died from his injuries following a terrible earthquake that devastated Syria. Bohemond then came to Cursat Castle to do penance and to ask Aimery to return to Antioch. In 1180 however, Bohemond was excommunicated by Aimery, on the orders of Pope Alexander III, for matters in his private life. This angered Bohemond and he sieged Cursat Castle were Aimery had again sought refuge. He took the castle, imprisoned Patriarch Aimery and other bishops and looted their churches.

In 1188 Cursat Castle and its lands were spared by Saladin, the Ayyubid Sultan who was conquering the Principality of Antioch, after Aimery had paid him off.

In 1256 the castle was strengthened. Its defenses were so strong that it resisted a siege by the troops sent by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars in 1268 while the latter was besieging Antioch. The castle was then given by the patriarch to a certain Sir William, who had friendly relations with neighboring Muslim emirs and especially with a Muslim governor. This governor then interceded on William's behalf with Baibars. Baibars then spared the castle as long as William shared its revenues with the neighboring Muslims. Later William became a monk after the death of his wife and in 1275 Cursat Castle was again under siege. Its garrison surrendered to the Mamluk army after a tight blockade. Up until the 15th century the castle was occupied by a Mamluk warden. After that is was probably abandoned.

At present the castle, occupying a large mound, is in ruins which is mostly the result of earthquakes. The most notable remains are the two D-shaped towers which date back to the building campaign of 1256. On top of the mound only wall foundations, vaults and cisterns are to be found. The castle is freely accessible. This is a great 'forgotten' castle ruin, a little off the beaten track.


Gallery

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.castles.nl/cursat-castle#sigFreeId011b202b53