CASTLES AND FORTS, for Australians, exist simlpy in fairy tales and books, the playgrounds of princes, dragons and armies. In Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe, they are really real! And really cool. And while the dragons may be long gone, the legends of Salah Ul Din doing battle with Richard The Lionheart were real.
Built over many centuries from around 400BC, Arg e Bam (Citadel of Bam) suffered badly in a 2003 earthquake which killed tens of thousands in Bam, Iran.
Arched walls of ruins of Rasafa, near Raqqa.
The city walls and fort enclose the Roman theatre in Bosra, Syria.
The Syrian town of Bosra viewed from its Roman era fort.
Entrance to Syria Aleppo's imposing citadel.
Qal'at Salah al-Din in Arabic, near Latakia, Syria, dates back to around 1000AD.
A tower from where Salah el-Din's soldiers defended against Crusaders in the Middle Ages. Near Latakia, Syria.
Krak des Chevaliers, arguably the finest castle in the world, Syria.
Multiple stairways and corridors confused intruders.
Archers would have shot down on enemy troops through holes in the towers.
Crusader knight were protected by several high walls, high on a hill, making defeat near impossible.
Tunnels and arched ceilings are a feature of Krek Des Chevaliers.
Built by the Mamluks in the 13th century, the Citadel of Palmyra (Tadmur Castle) changed hands four times between 2015 and 2017.
Sidon castle was built is 1228, 31 yeara after Crusaders captured the city from Salah el Din.
A magnificent castle sits on a hill near Van, in the east of Turkey
Fortifications in Rhodes, Greece, built by the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John using existing Byzantine walls starting from 1309, the year in which they took the island.
There are Byzantium foundations under the 14th century fort at Lindos, Rhodes, Greece. And under those foundations, remnants of towns dating back to 500BC.
The town of Lindos predates the city of Rhodes. Atop the hill, the Castle of the Knights of St John, was built in the early 1300s.
High walls, 12 gates, 70,000 square metres, Ethiopia's Fasil Ghebbi (Gondar Castle) shows Arab, Hindu and Baroque influences. It was built by Emperor Fasilides in the 17th century.
Yamchun Fort sits in southermost Tajikistan, overlooking the Hindu Kush mountains. A fort has existed here since 300BC, but this structure is from the 12th century.
The mighty Hindu Kush mountains, and the Pamir river below made Yamchun Fort highly defendable, and an important customs post for traders to pass.
Fort Margherita, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, styled on a British castle, was built in 1879 by Charles Brookes, the so-called "white rajah" of Borneo.
One of many forts which continue to guard the Omani capital, Muscat.
Jabreen Castle is one of the highlights of Omani architecture and history, built in the mid 1600s by Imam Bel’arab bin Sultan Al Yarubi.
As Jibreen was built in a time of peace, it is primarally a castle, not a fort as is the norm in Oman.
Oman's Bahla Fort, built between the 12th and 15th century by the Banu Nebhan tribe who controlled the frankincense trade. There are 13kms of walls, some still standing, and an oasis connected to the fort complex.
A tower guard the entrance to Misfat Al Abriyeen, an ancient oasis town in central Oman.
The old fort (18th century?) in Jalan Bani Bu Ali, in south east Oman, lonely and open to the rare visitors.
The views from Khiva walls are excellent. The Uzbek city thrived through the middle of the second millenium.
An old citadel or kasbah in the Atlas mountains of Morocco.
Tughlaqabad Fort built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, of the Delhi Sultanate of India in 1321 is a large but infrequently visited site.