Saladin’s castle located in western Syria, is 30 kilometers east of Latakia city. Formerly called “castle of Saône” was renamed in 1957 “Saladin’s Castle” (Qual’at Slah El-Din) by the Secretary of State of Syria, after its most renowned owner, the first sultan of Egypt and Syria funder of the Ayyubid dynasty: Saladin.

Built 410 meter high, at the top of a rocky spur, the castle occupies at a strategic place. Therefore this site had housed since the first millennial BC the Phoenician civilization. It had passed on successively to the Greeks, Byzantines and the Seljuk dynasty.

At the beginning of the 13th century, the crusaders took possession of the citadel. The Byzantium layouts were upgraded: a colossal ditch was dug and the massive tower east of the monument was built.

But despite the transformations that had been done by Robert of Saône, the local lord and vassal to the Prince of Antakya, to reinforce the building’s defense, it only took two days for Saladin’s army to take it over in 1188.

Since 2006, Saladin’s Castle and the Crack des Chevaliers are both registered on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO.

ICONEM has started a digital archive collection of the major Syrian sites. If Saladin’s citadel doesn’t show any site of deterioration, to have an exhaustive census of the place using drones is essential since non architectural census at the scale of the entire site has never been conducted. The accesses of the fortress are vastly unknown, especially because of the dense vegetation around it. Our drone allowed us to digitalize the fully the outside of the citadel.