Military Structure
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Margat, also known as Marqab from the Arabic Qalaat al-Marqab (قلعة المرقب, "Castle of the Watchtower") is a castle near Baniyas, Syria, which was a Crusader fortress and one of the major strongholds of the Knights Hospitaller. It is located around 2&nbsp;km from the Mediterranean coast, approximately 6&nbsp;km south of Baniyas.<br />The castle had been in poor preservation until 2007, when some reconstruction and renovation started.


Margat is located on a hill about 360 metres above sea level, formed by an extinct volcano on the road between Tripoli and Latakia, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It was probably an ancient fortress, but earliest existing defences were built in 1062 by the local Muslim lords, who continued to hold it within the Christian Principality of Antioch in the aftermath of the First Crusade. When the Principality was defeated at the Battle of Harran in 1104, the Byzantine Empire took advantage of their weakness and captured Margat from the Muslims. A few years later it was captured by Tancred, Prince of Galilee, regent of Antioch, and was incorporated into the Principality.

In the 1170s it was controlled by Reynald II Mazoir of Antioch as a vassal of the count of Tripoli; the fortress was so large that it had its own household officials and a number of rear-vassals. His son Bertrand sold it to the Hospitallers in 1186 as it was too expensive for the Mazoir family to maintain. After some rebuilding and...
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