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Nimrod's Fortress (Castle of Banias)

Sam and the pilgrims camped at "Jonesborough" on September 16, 1867, having departed from Damascus that morning. This is reported to be the location of Nimrod's burial place. The Quaker City Itinerary calls the site Kefr Hauwar. This site name does not occur in any Google maps I have found but it is mentioned in many documents from the era. Of special interest was the entry in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, Volume 26, page 45. The location mapped is certainly not correct. It is more likely located about half way between Baniyas and Damascus.

Ian Strathcarron notes that at the time Twain visited the area it was known as Qala'at Namrud, the Castle of the Large Cliff. "More recently Judaic enthusiasts, noting the similarity between the Arabic Namrud and their own Nimrod, have grafted the Genesis legend onto the castle...". Twain, not knowing when it was built nor by whom, assigned it to high antiquity. Strathcarron reports that it has since been determined to have been built by Salah al-Din's nephew Al-Aziz "to pre-empt the expected assault on Damascus from Acre by the Sixth Crusade." The attack never occurred, the crusaders left Acre and the castle fell into disrepair. Strathcarron reports that "When the Ottomans arrived two hundred years later they used the castle as an up-market prison for disfavored officers and gentlemen."

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