Majdal Yaba Castle

Located in Migdal Afek are the ruins of Majdal Yaba, a Crusader castle, built on the site of ancient Migdal Afek

Rosh Haayin, Israel Occupied Palestine

Coordinates: 32.080888, 34.956992

Migdal AfekIt was described in Muslim sources in 1225 as a village called with a fortress called Majdal Yaba. In the 17th century, the village was taken over by the Rayyan family who arrived from Transjordan and built a two-story manor house. The ruins of the manor house, among which remains of the Crusader castle can be seen, are today called Migdal Afek

The village was depopulated by the IDF in July 1948.

Defeat by Ayyubids

The Crusaders conquered the Levant from the Arab Muslims in 1099, and built a fortress on the site in 1152, naming it Mirabel.

The fort was held against Baldwin of Ibelin by Manasses of Hierges, but eventually fell to Baldwin who ruled it as an independent lordship of the Kingdom of Jerusalem from 1162 to 1171.

In 1166, lands belonging to the fortress and the harvest of its fields were given to the Church of St. John the Baptist in Nablus.

The tyranny of a crusader lord Hugh of Ibelin in Majdal Yaba near Nablus was reported by Usama ibn Munqidh in 1156 CE; he imposed excessive taxes on Muslims, and required Muslims to pay four times as much tax as Christians nearby.

The inhabitants of eight villages which included Ibn Qudamah family left their homes in 1156 AC and migrated to Damascus, where they founded Al-Salihiyah suburb.

In 1177, the Muslim Ayyubids under Hz. Salahuddin Ayyubi رحمة الله عليه marched their army from south of Palestine northwards past Ascalon to the Castle of Mirabel which was being used to defend the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem.

In July 1187, Hz. Salahuddin Ayyubi رحمة الله عليه’s younger brother, al-Adil I, conquered Mirabel, but did not destroy the castle fortress.

Chronicler Baha ad-Din ibn Shaddad recorded that in 1191-92, Hz. Salahuddin Ayyubi رحمة الله عليه used the castle fortress as a base for carrying out raids against the Crusaders, although he camped outside of it.

However, Hz. Salahuddin Ayyubi رحمة الله عليه gave orders to dismantle the walls of Mirabel after his defeat at the battle of Arsuf.