Cafarlet Crusader Fortress

Cafarlet Crusader Fortress

Located along the Carmel coast, pilgrims on Christian tours of Israel can visit the Crusader-era fortress of Cafarlet.

Built in a rectangular shape, the fortress features rounded towers at every corner, a shape that's atypical of Crusader architecture. Cafarlet was built this way because it was reconstructed from an earlier Muslim fortress at the same location. When approaching the site from the road, you'll be able to see the relatively well-preserved eastern wall. The gate that was built into the southern wall still stands and is possible to walk through. It makes a particularly scenic frame under which to photograph your traveling companions.

Moshav Ha-Bonim, a Zionist community, was established on the site a year after the State of Israel was founded. When the moshav wanted to expand in 2007, their excavations at the site unearthed a Byzantine village just south of the fortress. Archaeologists found the ancient wine presses here. In one of the presses, it’s still possible to see remnants of a mosaic that covers the area where grapes were crushed in the production of wine.

The ruins of a Byzantine-area church have also been unearthed here. Cafarlet's church was built in a trefoil design, with three apses, all facing east. When you stand facing east to look at the ruins, visitors can easily imagine Byzantine worshipers inspired by the view of Mount Carmel and the plains. In the center of the ruins is an entrance to an ancient crypt covered by two stone slabs. A large transparent plastic cover was installed on the church’s ruins to protect it until archaeologists return to the site to continue their work.

 

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