Belvoir or Kochav HaYarden (Star of the Jordan) is a massive and very impressive Crusader castle perched high above the Jordan valley – which provided strategic control of the area and a stunning view to match.
This is a real castle, well preserved, with thick walls and lots of places to explore. A children’s paradise with lots of interest for adults.
The road up makes you think that you have gone the wrong way, but it is worth persevering to the top.
History of Belvoir Castle
Belvoir Fortress was part of the feudal estate of a French nobleman named Velos who lived in Tiberias. In 1168, Velos sold it to the Order of the Hospitallers and the castle was built on the site. The fortress of Belvoir served as a major obstacle to the Muslim advance on the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. It withstood the attack of the Muslim forces in 1180. During the campaign of 1182, a fierce battle was fought nearby.
Following Saladin’s victory over the Crusaders at the battle of the Horns of Hittin, Belvoir was besieged. The siege lasted a year and a half, until the defenders surrendered on 5 January 1189.
The views from Belvoir are phenomenal with a 270 degree view south over the Jordan Valley, north to the Kinneret and the Golan and west over the Galilee and valleys.
There is a sculpture park near the castle and a vulture’s nest on the next cliff top.
This is unquestionably one of the secrets of Israel, and don’t forget your cameras. Chilrden will love to explore and run through the ruins. The site has partial wheelchair access.
See Belvoir Park for more details.
See also Nature Reserves
Getting To the Belvoir
From Road 90 North of Bet Shean take the 717 into the hills for around 15Km – it is long uphill drive but don’t be put off and think that you are on the wrong road (unless you are…) and it is really worth it.