The gate tower
The gate tower is one of the reconstructed or restored elements of the eastern face of the castle. It now serves as its the entrance. It is a large, slightly protruding quadrangular tower defended by three brettices. The entrance arch is surmounted by several inscriptions in Arabic: one is a long decree relating to the pay of the garrison’s soldiers, dated 1345, the other mentions a restoration dated 1301-1302:
”This blessed tower was built during the days of our master Sultan al-Malik al-[Na]sir [Muha]mmad, son of the martyred Sultan al-Malik al-Mansur Qalaʾun al-Salihi, the associate of the Emir of the Believers. It (was completed) during the days of His Highness the Great Emir Badr al-Din Bilik al-Sadidi, Lieutenant-General in Hisn al-Akrad the well-guarded, in the months of the year 701 (1301-1302)” .
The vaulting of the access ramp
The gate tower opens onto a long access ramp, originally without roof and vaulted over several levels. This type of vaulted entrance ramp was quite a common feature of 13th century Ayyubid fortifications. Examples include the citadels of Ajloun in Jordan and those of Aleppo, Bosra and Qal’at Najm in Syria.