Najim Castle

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Najim Castle, locally known as Qalaat Najim or Kalat Nejem, lies some 20 km east of the town of Manbidj, on the west bank of the Euphrates river in Syria. It is the northernmost fortification along the Euphrates in Syria.

The settlement near Najim Castle was already existant in Grecian times. It was located near a crossing over the Euphrates river on a, once important, trade route from Aleppo to Harran. In Roman times the settlement was fortified and known as Caeciliana.

The first mention of a fortification at the site of Najim Castle was in the 9th century. In 912 the castle was first mentioned as Qalaat Najim.

During the 12th century, under Nur ad-Din Zangi, the earlier castle was strenghtened and a garrison was stationed at the castle.

At the beginning of the 13th century Najim Castle was extensively renovated and expanded by the Lord of Aleppo Az-Zahir Ghazi, son of Saladin. It are the remains of this castle that we see today.

In 1820 Najim Castle suffered extensive damage when a Bedouin tribe defended themselves here against the Ottomans.

The castle was built on a hill and was secured by a peripheral wall with polygonal towers. The slopes of this hill were additionally strengthened by a carefully placed glacis. Entrance to the castle is through a dual angled hallway which leads to small residential wings around a small rectangular courtyard.

At present Najim Castle can be visited. It is fairly off the beaten track but certainly worth your while, in my opinion. It is in a great desert-like location at the bank of a historic river.