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Overview of Safita.
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|City Qrya Pcode||C5472|
Safita (Arabic: صافيتا Ṣāfītā; Phoenician: 𐤎𐤐𐤕𐤄, Sōpūte) is a city in the Tartous Governorate, northwestern Syria, located to the southeast of Tartous and to the northwest of Krak des Chevaliers. It is situated on the tops of three hills and the valleys between them, in the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Safita had a population of 20,301 in the 2004 census.
Safita is located on a site where remains of the Phoenician settlement were discovered. The archaeological remains at the site of Tell Kazel were identified as the Phoenician city of Sumur mentioned in the Amarna letters.
Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse who founded the County of Tripoli, seized the site inhabited by Bedouins from the Banu Ammar tribe. The Knights Templar, which the lands of the region were given to them, built the fortress known today as the "Chastel Blanc". The fortress sits on a strategic observation point, and from there it maintains eye contact with the network of fortresses of the Templar Order, Arwad and Tartus on the coast in the northwest, Chastel Rouge in the southwest and Krak des Chevaliers in the southeast. The Mamluk Sultan Baibars managed to capture Safita in 1271 to become under Muslims rule.
The Crusader fortress "Chastel Blanc", a square tower built in 1202, is well preserved and rises to a height of 28 meters. It is 18 meters wide and 31 meters long. Among its walls, 3 meters high, is a chapel dedicated to St. Michael and serving the Greek Orthodox community of the city. The second floor of the building, which can be ascended in a stone staircase, was originally used as a dormitory and is illuminated by firing slits. Beneath the tower was a water cistern that was used by the inhabitants of the fortress.