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18 February 2001


Neathery and Michael Fuller,



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Medieval Era Archaeological Sites

Crusader Era Sites in Greater Syria

Bakas / Shugur Qadim

The ruins of a Cruader castle stands opposite of the modern Arab village of Shugur Qadim.

A deep chasm divided the settlement into two castles: Shugur (the Northern Keep) and Bakas (the larger, Southern compound).

Architectural details of the Northern Keep suggest that it was constructed by Byzantine masons around AD 900.

The date of Crusader conquest is not known.

Saladin captured to Southern compound on 5 August 1188.

The Northern Keep surrendered a week later on 12 August 1188.

Mongols seized the castle during Tamerlane's invasion of Syria during 1260.

Mamluk Sultan Baibars regained control of the castle approximately in ca. 1270..

View looking northeast across canyon to Northern Keep

Narrow arrow loops in the west wall of the North Keep

Canyon of the Nahr al-Abiad on the north and east sides of the castle

Masons and engineers carved a chasm that isolated the Northern Keep at Bakas

Modern mosque in the village of Shugar looking west down length of the man-made chasm

Mustafa Shugur (12 years old) and his brother stand under a Kufic inscription near the center of the Northern Keep.

Kufic Inscription

Kufic Inscription

Kufic Inscription

Kufic Inscription

Kufic Inscription

Goats stand guard on top of a partially collapsed vault near the castle cistern that still holds water

Archaeological team headed by Neathery Fuller (gold) and Amira Fuller (red) watch while Michael Fuller and David Hanlon explore Bakas)


GPS information for Bakas

1. Modern Mosque in the village of Shugar, across canyon from castle

North 35o 51.165' and East 036o 17.044'

Approximate elevation of 1006 ft.


2. Preserved window in middle of West wall of North Keep

North 35o 51.225' and East 036o 17.021'

Approximate elevation of 1059 ft.


3. Kufic inscription near the southern edge of the North Keep

North 35o 51.203' and E036o 17.048'

Approximate elevation of 1014 ft.


4. Tower at the southeast end of the North Keep

North 35o 51.196' and East 036o 17.073'

Approximate elevation of 1033 ft.


5. Crusader cistern still used to water goats in North Keep

North 35o 51.290' and East 036o 16.962'

Approximate elevation of 910 ft.


6. Large vaulted chamber near south end of North Keep

North 35o 51.202' and East 036o 17.057'

Approximate elevation of 1031 ft.


7. Trail in canyon as it begins to climb to the castle

North 35o 51.329' and East 036o 16.912'

Approximate elevation 862