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Safita intro. In the Syrian coastal mountain range in the northwest of the country, the city of Safita stretches across three hills and their valleys. This area was first inhabited by Phoenician and Canaanite settlers, with archaeological remnants of their settlements still found here. During the Crusades, the city was occupied by the Knights Templar as a part of the County of Tripoli, the final Crusader state. The Templars built Chastel Blanc on the city centre hill, which originally served as both a fortress and a chapel. The castle boasts an unforgettable view that spans from the barren Syrian Desert in the east to the snowy peaks of Lebanon's mountains in the south and westward to the Mediterranean Sea. There are many villages on the outskirts of Safita that are full of rich Phoenician and Crusader history, such as the beautiful hilly town of Sebei. The mountains here are popular for trekking and climbing, and as of recently, geocaching, a treasure hunting activity. From Safita hotels, travellers can venture northwest to the port city of Tartous or southeast to the famous Krak des Chevaliers, the archetypical Crusader castle.
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