Belveer Crusader Fortress
Walking through the maze that is Belveer, tour participants can see how each incarnation of the historic structure received its own architecture style. The current building and the adjacent ruins combine Roman, Christian, Arab and modern Israeli construction. Children, in particular, will enjoy the many connecting passageways, including the large dark rooms and the narrow hallways surrounding the fortress.
Castellum Belveer was a Crusader fortress built on the remains of a Roman-era building not far from Jerusalem. The fort was the site of an important battle between Arab and Israeli forces in the War of Independence.
The Crusaders built this fortress for security purposes. They constructed a number of fortresses in line of sight to the city of Jerusalem, in order to protect it and its access roads. Visitors here can descend below ground level to marvel at the stone vaults of the complex built by the Crusaders.
The fortress stood empty for most of the period following the Mamluk conquest of the Holy Land, but it was taken over by a Zionist Palmach unit during the War of Independence. The victory of the Israeli forces in this battle was imperative for keeping the road to Jerusalem open for supplies and troops, as well as for the morale of the entire nation. After the war, and until 1967, the fortress overlooked the border with Jordan, and communication trenches were dug at the site.
The complex also contains a memorial for Israeli soldiers who were killed in the famous battle of Casatel and for the soldiers who were killed in convoys on their way to Jerusalem.