The Nimrod Fortress National Park graces the slopes of Israel’s highest mountain, Mount Hermon, above the Banias spring. The fortress overlooks the forested dales and magnificent landscape of the area.
Nimrod Fortress was built in 1228 by the Ayyubi governor Al-Aziz ‘Othman as a preemptory strategic move. Frederick II’s army was headed from Acre to Damascus and Al-Aziz ‘Othman saw the fortress as a way of blocking the road to Frederick’s troops.
After the royal sultan Baybars captured the fortress, he transformed it into a huge fortified complex. The tour of the site passes through the imposing gate and alongside the monumental lintel. The text of the large inscription on the lintel indicates that it is from the time of Baybars (1275 B.C.E.). The nearby toilet is from the same period. In 1998 excavators found a good-size stone with a carving of a cheetah, the symbol of Baybars.
As they make their way to the donjon, constructed as a freestanding internal castle, visitors can admire the reservoirs and large watchtowers at the complex. Of particular interest is the well-disguised secret passage, built of enormous stones, which connected the fortress to the outside world.