One of the most magnificent features of the fortress is the 28 m deep ditch, which was cut into living rock probably by the Byzantines (it might have been completed by the Crusaders). This ditch, which runs 156 meters along the east side, is 14 to 20 meters wide and has a lonely 28 m high needle to support the drawbridge.
The entrance to the castle is through an entrance on the south side of the fortress. On the right of the entrance is a tower, a bastion built by the Crusaders. There is another a few meters further.
There is a cistern for water storage and some stables just next to a massive keep that overlooks the ditch. This keep has walls of 5 m thick and covers an area of nearly 24 m².
Further on to the north is the gate where the drawbridge used to be.
Also evident are the Byzantine citadel, located at the center of the fortress, another large cistern, the Crusader tea house, and a Crusader church adjoining one of two Byzantine chapels.
As for the Arab additions to the fortress they include a mosque, which dates back to sultan Qalawun, and a palace, which includes baths with courtyards and iwans. This has been slightly restored.
Unesco World Heritage Site
Unesco name of World Heritage site: Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (added in 2006)
Justification for Inscription: "These two castles represent the most significant examples illustrating the exchange of influences and documenting the evolution of fortified architecture in the Near East during the time of the Crusades (11th - 13th centuries). The Crac des Chevaliers was built by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem from 1142 to 1271. With further construction by the Mamluks in the late 13th century, it ranks among the best-preserved examples of the Crusader castles. The Qal’at Salah El-Din (Fortress of Saladin), even though partly in ruins, represents an outstanding example of this type of fortification, both in terms of the quality of construction and the survival of historical stratigraphy. It retains features from its Byzantine beginnings in the 10th century, the Frankish transformations in the late 12th century and fortifications added by the Ayyubid dynasty (late 12th to mid-13th century). "Click here for more UNESCO World Heritage Castles