Mirabel (castle)

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Donjon of Mirabel Castle (2008)

Donjon of Mirabel Castle (2008)

Alternative name (s): Majdal Yaba
Creation time : around 1134
Castle type : Hilltop castle
Conservation status: ruin
Standing position : Barons
Geographical location 32 ° 4 '51 "  N , 34 ° 57' 25"  E Coordinates: 32 ° 4 '51 "  N , 34 ° 57' 25"  E
Height: 120  m
Mirabel (Israel)

Mirabel (Hebrew מגדל אפק ( Migdal Afek ) or Migdal Tsedek , Arabic Mejdel Yâbâ or Mejdel Sadiq , Latin: Mirabellum ) is a crusader castle in today's Israel.


The ruin of the hilltop castle is located approx. 17 km east of Jaffa on a hill at the Afek pass .


In 1134 King Fulk of Jerusalem raised Mirabel to an independent rule in the county of Jaffa . The reign was given as a fiefdom to Barisan von Ibelin . In the following years he built the hilltop castle on the remains of a previous Roman-Byzantine building.

After Barisan's death in 1150, Manasses von Hierges , who had married Barisan's widow Helvis von Ramla , was named Herr von Mirabel . Manasses was a cousin of Queen Melisende and was one of the most powerful officials of the Kingdom of Jerusalem as constable from 1140 . In the throne dispute between Queen Melisende and her son Baldwin III. Manasses stood firmly on Melisende's side. Balduin III. finally besieged Manasses in 1152 in his castle Mirabel. Manasses had to give up and was exiled.

Barisan's son Hugo von Ibelin now took over the rule of Mirabel. After his childless death in 1170 his brother Baldwin von Ibelin inherited him .

A Frankish settlement formed on the hills around the castle. This was set on fire in 1177 by Saladin's vanguard before it was initially repulsed at the Battle of Montgisard , in which Baldwin von Ibelin also took part as commander. After the Battle of Hattin , Mirabel was finally captured by Saladin's brother al-Adil in July 1187 . Unlike many crusader castles, Mirabel was not razed by the conquerors, at least it is mentioned in 1191/1192 as belonging to the Ayyubids . It was abandoned in the 13th century.

In the 17th and 18th centuries the Ottomans used the castle as a fortress again.


Especially on the west tower you can easily see the crusader construction. The walls are 2 meters thick. There is a Greek inscription above the entrance. The stone is a reused piece from the 4th – 5th centuries. The inscription reads "Martyrdom of St. Kerykos". Kerykos was a martyr from the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305).

The castle was partially built over during the Ottoman period. The structure of the crusader castle can still be seen at the central donjon and the curtain wall .

Individual evidence

  1. See Hans E. Mayer: History of the Crusades. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2005. pp. 138f.
  2. See Bernard Hamilton: The Leper King and His Heirs. Baldwin IV and the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press, 2000. p. 134
  3. See Denys Pringle: Secular Buildings in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. P. 67 ff.
  4. See Denys Pringle: Secular Buildings in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. P. 69.


  • Denys Pringle: The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. A corpus. Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-521-39037-0 .
  • Denys Pringle: Secular Buildings in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. To Archaeological Gazetteer. Cambridge University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-521-46010-7
  • Hans Wolfram Kessler / Konrad Kessler: Knights in the Holy Land: Crusader sites in Israel . Philipp von Zabern, Darmstadt 2013, ISBN 978-3805345521

Web links

Commons : Mirabel  - collection of images, videos and audio files