The Beaufort Fortress in Lebanon has been known since 1139, the year it was taken by the Crusaders. Named Qala'at ash-Shqif, meaning "Castle of the High Rock" in Arabic, it is located on a strategic position, a rocky spur at nearly 700 meters above sea level. The fortress overlooks the Litani River. This location must have already been of interest to civilizations present long before the arrival of the Crusaders, especially during the Roman period.
During the Middle Ages, the fortress defended the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Throughout its existence, the fortress changed hands several times. In 1190, Saladin took the castle after a year-long siege. About fifty years later, it was returned to the Franks by the Malik of Damascus (with a territory extending from Sidon to Tiberias) in exchange for their military assistance.
In 1260, the fortress (along with Sidon and its surroundings) was sold to the Templars. They did not remain owners for very long: the building was forcibly taken by Sultan Baybars in 1268.
In the seventeenth century, the Ottomans, who were fighting Emir Fakhreddine II, destroyed the upper part of the fortress.
In the eighteenth century, the castle was once again besieged, this time by the governor of Acre. It was severely damaged during this new conquest. Nearly fifty years later, in 1837, it was finally destroyed by an earthquake.
But its history does not end there. It was restored during the French mandate, starting in 1920, and after Lebanon's independence in 1943.
During the wars and conflicts that followed in Lebanon from 1975 onwards, the Beaufort Fortress was once again put to use. Strategically, its position is particularly interesting and allows one to see southern Lebanon as far as northern Israel.
In 1976, the Palestine Liberation Organization occupied the castle to shoot at Israel, which responded with bombings. The Israeli army occupied the fortress from 1982 and reinforced it with concrete. Israel abandoned the site upon its withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.