Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Please Support Us!
Donate with PayPal!
November Goal: $40.00
Due Date: Nov 30
Gross Amount: $5.00
PayPal Fees: $0.50
Net Balance: $4.50
Below Goal: $35.50

November Donations
5th Anonymous $5.00
Militaria Gallery
Pages: [1]   Go Down
This topic has not yet been rated!
You have not rated this topic. Select a rating:
Author Topic: Nimrod Fortress  (Read 332 times)
Description: One of the most impressive, preserve castles in the Near East.
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
« on: March 07, 2007, 10:34:05 AM »

The Lion from Nimrod Castle
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. (Genesis 10:8-9)

Nimrod Fortress

The Nimrod Fortress or Nimrod's Fortress (Arabic: Qala'at al-Subeiba, Kal'at al-Subeiba, or Qala'at Namrud‎, "Castle of the Large Cliff"; Hebrew: מבצר נמרוד‎, Mivtzar Nimrod) is an ancient fortress situated in the northern Golan Heights in Israel on a ridge rising about 800 m (2600 feet) above sea level.


The fortress was built around 1229 by Al-Aziz Uthman, nephew of Saladin and younger son of Al-Adil I, to pre-empt any attempt on Damascus by the Sixth Crusade. It was named Qala'at al-Subeiba, "Castle of the Large Cliff" in arabic. It was further expanded to contain the whole ridge by 1230, and Baibars strengthened it and added larger towers after 1260. The castle was given to Baibars's second-on-command, Bilik. The new governor started the broad construction activities. When the construction was finished, Bilik memorialized his work and glorified the name of sultan in a 1275 inscription. After the death of Baibars, his son arranged for Bilik to be murdered, apparently because he feared his power.

At the end of the 13th century, following the Muslim conquest of the port city of Akko (Acre) and the end of Crusader rule in the Holy Land, the fortress lost strategic value and fell into disrepair.

After the Ottoman Turks conquered the land in 1517, they used the fortress as a luxury prison for Ottoman nobles who had been exiled to Palestine. The fortress was abandoned later in the 16th century and only local shepherds and their flocks were temporary guests within its walls.

The fortress was ruined by an earthquake in the 18th century.

The entire fortress complex is 420 m (1350 feet) in length and 150 m (500 feet) in width, and is built of large, carefully squared stones. Along the walls are numerous rectangular and semi-circular towers, roofed with pointed cross-arches.

Overlooking the high, eastern edge of the fortress stood a large keep, measuring 65 by 45 metres (200 by 150 feet) and protected by massive rectangular towers.

The fortress overlooks the deep, narrow valley separating Mount Hermon from the rest of the Golan Heights, the road linking the Galilee with Damascus, and the former Crusader town of Banias.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1767

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2007, 07:05:24 PM »

So how did the misnomer (?) Nimrod Fortress come about, since the site has no historical connection to the actual character?

- Bart

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 09:31:18 PM »

Good question, Bart. The answer is that the connection is not historical, but legendary.

Nimrod, Noah's great-grandson, was said to have been punished by God on the mountain top, by having a mosquito penetrating to his brain, making him giving up his religion. There is also another legend, according to which Nimrod built his castle in that very place, and from there stretched a long arm in order to draw water from the Banias.

The castle ruins do not belong to this early period, though it is possible that an earlier fortress did exist there.

Nimrod's Castle
Perched on a hill two miles to the northeast of Banias is Nimrod's Castle (Qalat Nimrod; Arabic Qalat Subeiba), the largest complete fortress in the Middle East. It controlled the northern Galilee and the route to Damascus. Nine of the defense towers remain, along with much of the outer wall, a keep and the moat.

According to legend, the castle was originally built by "Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord," listed in Genesis 10 as a son of Cush and great-grandson of Noah, built it high so he could shoot his arrows at God. Clearly, however, the present structure was built by medieval architects more interested in earthly defense, but archaeologists argue over whether it is an Arab or Crusader design (or both). An impressive stone relief of a panther was discovered at the excavations being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The relief, carved in basalt, was found under debris at the foot of the southern tower of the medieval fortress. Similar reliefs, less impressive, can be seen on the Lions' Gate in Jerusalem and on the Mameluke-period bridge on the outskirts of Lydda (Lod). The panther has been identified as the symbol of the Mameluke Sultan Baybars, who ruled the Mameluke empire from Egypt during the 13th century AD. The panther seems to be extending its paw, its claws stretched out to capture its prey. Next to the relief, a monumental Arabic inscription describing the construction of the tower came to light. Apparently the inscription was originally set into the wall in the upper story of the tower, which collapsed during a 1759 earthquake. The current excavations have also revealed the southwestern corner of the castle, which contains entrances into the corner tower and access to a system of vaults with slits for archers' missiles. In one of the vaults, a secret corridor leading to the moat outside the tower was discovered.

The castle overlooks Banias--the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi--and the source of the Hermon River. It commands beautiful views of the Hula Valley, the mountains of Naphtali, the Lebanon Mountains, and the Anti-Lebanon Range.

Portal Guardian from Nimrud. British Museum

Nimrud is an ancient Assyrian city located south of Nineveh on the river Tigris. The city covered an area of around 16 square miles. Ruins of the city are found in modern day Iraq, some 30 km southeast of Mosul. In ancient times the city was called Kalhu. The Arabs called the city Nimrud after Nimrod, a legendary hunting hero.

Nimrud has been identified as the site of the biblical city of Calah or Kalakh [k?'l?kh]. Assyrian king Shalmaneser I made Nimrud, which existed for about a thousand years, the capital in the 13th century BC. The city gained fame when king Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria (c. 880 BC) made it his capital. He built a large palace and temples on the site of an earlier city that had long fallen into ruins.

A grand opening ceremony with festivities and an opulent banquet in 879 BC is described in an inscribed stele discovered during archeological excavations. The city of king Ashurnasirpal II housed perhaps as many as 100,000 inhabitants, and contained botanic gardens and a zoologic garden. His son, Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC), built the monument known as the Great Ziggurat, and an associated temple. The palace, restored as a site museum, is one of only two preserved Assyrian palaces in the world, the other being Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh.

Calah remained the Assyrian capital until around 710 BC when first Khorsabad and then Nineveh were designated as the capital. It remained a major centre and a royal residence until the city was completely destroyed in 612 BC when Assyria succumbed under the invasion of the Medes and the Babylonians.

A stele from Nimrud


The name Nimrud in connection with the site is apparently first used in the writings of Carsten Niebuhr, who was in Mosul in March 1766. The name is probably associated with Nimrod the hunter (cf. Genesis 10:11-12; Micah 5:6; I Chronicles 1:10).

The ancient site of Nimrud was first investigated from 1845 to 1851 by Henry Austen Layard (later Sir Austen Henry Layard), who regarded the site as a district of a supposed "Nineveh" urban region (hence the name of Nineveh in the titles of several early works about Nimrud; Layard did not misidentify the site as Nineveh as has often been supposed). His books Nineveh And Its Remains [Abridged and Titled Discoveries at Nineveh] and "Monuments of Nineveh" refer to this site. Subsequent major excavations were headed by Hormuzd Rassam and), W.K. Loftus), George Smith (1873), Max Mallowan (1949 - 1957), David Oates (1958 - 1962), Julian Orchard (1963), the Directorate of Antiquities of the Republic of Iraq (1956,,,), Janusz Meuzynski), Poalo Fiorina)and John Curtis (1989).

Excavations revealed remarkable bas-reliefs, ivories, and sculptures. A statue of Ashurnasirpal II was found in an excellent state of preservation, as were colossal winged man-headed lions guarding the palace entrance. The large number of inscriptions dealing with king Ashurnasirpal II provide more details about him and his reign than are known for any other ruler of this epoch. Portions of the site have been also been identified as temples to Ninurta and Enlil, a building assigned to Nabu, the god of writing and the arts, and as extensive fortifications.

The palaces of Ashurnasirpal II, Shalmaneser III, and Tiglath-Pileser III have been located. The famous Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III was discovered by Layard in 1846. The monument stands six and a half feet tall and commemorates the king's victorious campaigns of 859-824 BC. It is shaped like a temple tower at the top, ending in three steps. On one panel, Israelites led by king Jehu of Israel pay tribute and bow in the dust before king Shalmaneser III, who is making a libation to his god. The cuneiform text on the obelisk reads "Jehu the son of Omri", and mentions gifts of gold, silver, lead and spear shafts.

The "Treasure of Nimrud" unearthed in these excavations is a collection of 613 pieces of gold jewellery and precious stones. It has survived the confusions and looting after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 in a bank vault, where it had been put away for 12 years and was "rediscovered" on 5 June 2003.

As the story unfolds, it begins with king Ninus (Greek: tentatively Ramman-Nirari) of Assyria, who builds a great city in honor of his name, and the city becomes Nineveh (Roman: Ninus) the capital of the Assyrian empire. He was a great warrior who subdued the greater parts of Asia, becoming the first great king, and conqueror of the ancient world of his time, and as Diodorus writes...there were none other before him...that of which he knew of. If this be true then some scholars would place him approximately about 2182 B.C., which would be in proximity to Nimrod of the Bible, ruler of the land of Shinar as outlined in Gen.10:10-11. The etymology of Nimrod is quite uncertain and the Bible does not go into further detail about him apart from these few lines written in Genesis, except that he was the founder of Nineveh along with a number of other well known ancient cities. The Hebrew historian Flavius Josephus, in the Antiquities of the Jews, depicts Nimrod as a tyrannical leader, demanding complete dominion and control over the people.

As Josephus writes:
"He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He gradually changed the government into tyranny - seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his power."

He likely rose to power by being a mighty protector over the land with his fearless gift of hunting and killing predatory wild animals that were a threat to human civilization, therefore receiving the title "mighty hunter before the Lord (Gen. 10:9). In post-biblical traditions, Nimrod, the inciter of "rebellion" who ruled Babel, was often identified as a giant, or Nephilim (Gen. 6:4), equivalent to the Anakim of Dueteronomy (Duet. 2:21-20;9:2). He was the chief instigator of the tower of Babel. This was a revolt which led to building a tower in the course of staging revenge against God, lest He flood the world again.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1767

View Profile
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2007, 09:54:06 PM »

An excellent, very interesting, and comprehensive answer to a simple question, my profound thanks. It is you and others here who make this site so fantastic and unlike any other I have seen, and I have seen quite a few.

- Bart

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2007, 12:13:04 AM »

Good story!

This goldwork is part of a crown - one of the Treasures of Nimrud

Treasure of Nimrud
A vault beneath Iraq's Central Bank in Baghdad contained treasures, such as this golden crown, that were excavated starting in the 1980's from the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II in the ancient Assyrian capital of Nimrud, in northern Iraq. The antiquities date to the 8th and 9th century BCE.
Photograph copyright The Iraq Museum

Tags: Israel Saladin castle Nimrod 
Pages: [1]   Go Up

Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.4 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC
History Hunters Worldwide Exodus | TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc