day 7: castles
not far from Hama you can find some of the most amazing castles; apart from being beautiful, it's the stories behind them are quite interesting.
the one above is known as the Assassins castle: it was one of the strongholds of a radical Muslim sect that specialized in eliminating their political adversaries. they were well known to the crusaders, who were afraid of their leader, the "Old Man of the Mountain" of legends; but they were just as known and feared by the great Saladin, who tried to besiege the castle. the story says the following morning he woke up in his tent, surrounded by his guards, to find a few gifts from the old man itself; and promptly abandoned the siege and never threatened them again.