The final destination on our route is Ravanda Castle, one of the most important castles of the Middle Ages. It lies about 24 km northwest of Kilis, to the east of Afrin Brook and near the village of Belenözü, in the Polateli district. The castle was built on a cone-shaped hill, on the sides of the Afrin valley.
About 1.5 km before arriving at Ravanda, you will see to your right the centuries-old pine tree on the slopes of the castle, which stands like a sentry over its beautiful lands, confirming its place in the region’s magnificent history. The unforgettable view is like a priceless painting, with an ancient pine tree in the foreground and Ravanda Castle in all its glory standing behind.
Ravanda Castle is positioned in such a way that it exercises control over the whole valley. It was built on the top of a hill, dominating the horizon, where the surrounding area is open and the field of view is wide. Inside the castle, some of the structures which have survived until today are a vaulted building on the west side of the castle, the chapel to the south, a small circular tower in the centre of the castle, water cisterns and the bastions.
Ravanda Castle holds a strategically important position in the region, looking out in all four directions, however its high, exposed location has meant that it has suffered from the effects of nature. The external ramparts and the structures within the castle have fallen into disrepair and ruin.
As part of a project to turn Ravanda Castle into a touristic asset, structural renovations have been carried out and lights have been installed. Restoration work also included the construction of stairs and walkways for easy access to the castle, benches for resting, and the introduction of information boards throughout the castle.
The history of Ravanda Castle stretches back as far as the Hittites, and it is mentioned in writings about the Crusades. The castle, called “Er-Ravendan” in Islamic sources, “Ravendel”, “Ravandal”, or “Ravenel” in Crusaders’ sources and “Aréventan” in Armenian sources, has been occupied by all of the ruling states in the region throughout history.
The structures of the castle are on level land at the top of the hill. The ramparts and parts of the bastions built at varying distances from each other, some angular and some semicircular, are still standing. The most intact part of the structure surviving today is the citadel. Of the outer wall of the castle, only some foundations and remnants remain. On the east side of the interior section of the castle, there are two big water cisterns with steps in front of them. It is thought that there was a hidden path through the cisterns, leading down to the Afrin Brook. In the northern section, the remains of a structure, thought to be a palace, can be seen. The main entrance gate of the citadel, which is 2.20 m wide and 3.10 m high, lies in the south. The disparity between the construction style and the materials used, points to the possibility that this entrance has undergone repairs over time.