Nimrod Fortress

An update to Vol. 3, pp. 1152–1154.

By Moshe Hartal


In 1993 and 1998, two towers in the western wall of the Nimrod fortress (tower 11, the western gate tower; and tower 9, in the southwestern corner of the fortress) were excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority, under the direction of M. Hartal.


TOWER 11—THE WESTERN GATE TOWER. The western gate tower measures 14.30 by 14.30 m. It was constructed atop a cliff and comprises a single large room, 9.00 by 8.50 m, roofed with a cross-vault 6.50 m high, preserved only over the eastern part of the room. The entrance to the fortress, from the west, is in the southern wall of the tower. It measures 2.10 m wide and today stands 2.70 m high (the original height was 3.70 m). Above the gate was an Arabic inscription referring to its construction by el-‘Aziz ‘Uthman in 1230. The gate was closed by a portcullis and a double-paneled door, which was bolted by a square wooden beam inserted into a groove in the wall. Outside the gate, an additional arch that served as a machicolation was constructed. The gate displays clear signs of earthquake damage. From the gate chamber, one entered the fortress via an inner gateway, constructed in the eastern wall of the tower. The width of this gate was 2.10 m, its height 3.70 m. It consists of two doorposts, each 2.27 m high, superimposed by an arch. It was closed with a double-paneled door that opened eastward, into the fortress. This inner gateway provided additional security if the outer gateway was penetrated.

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