Beaufort Castle, the setting for Beaufort, sits on a high, rocky outcropping in southern Lebanon (map). Known in Arabic as Shqif Arnun ("High Rock"), it soars 1000 meters (more than 3000 feet) above the Litani River Valley. Its commanding, 360-degree views have made it perfectly suited for a command post or lookout, and it has been used as such for over 1000 years.
Not much is known of Beaufort's early history. Given its ideal location, scholars believe it may have been used in Biblical or Roman times as a military outpost. Arab occupants enlarged it; and the French Crusaders, who occupied it beginning in 1139 BCE, made further refinements to its structure. Passageways and underground chambers were tunneled into the rock, and an inside cistern was excavated to hold the fort's water supply.
In the early 1980's, Hezbollah used Beaufort as a missile launch site, shelling settlements in Northern Israel from its heights. The Israelis led a ...