By bus and a costly minibus to this high peak citidel which TE Lawrence called the "finest castle in the world" which indeed I must agree is truely a marvel. It is well preserved, as the guidebook says, it cannot have looked much different 800 yrs ago. We spent 2-3 hours here and saw it all. The first fortress build on this site was by the Emir of Homs in 1031 AD but the Crusader Knights assisted by a Hungarian noble in the 12th century largely built and expanded the Krak. Despite many attacks & seiges the castle held firm and was never breached. Instead, the Crusaders gave it up in 1271 when the great Muslim warlord Beybars marched on it. The Knights were a last outpost...Jerusalem was lost and Christians in retreat...built to garrison 2000 only 200 remained, surrounded by Islamic armies & no hope of reprieve, it was more a prison than a stronghold. With 5 yrs of supplies still within the castle, the Crusaders agreed after a month to leave for safe conduct out of the area. See photos: baths, greathall, 3 towers, moat, hall of the Knights, chapel w/ pulpit, 360degree views of the surrounding countryside in orchards & pasture now!
We stayed Hotel La Ronde Tablet right next door.