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The site was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurdish troops garrisoned there by the Mirdasids.As a result, it was known as Hisn al-Akrad, meaning the "Castle of the Kurds".There were also other military orders, such as the Knights Templar, which offered protection to pilgrims.

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Today, a village called al-Husn exists around the castle and has a population of nearly 9,000.

Krak des Chevaliers is located approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) west of the city of Homs, close to the border of Lebanon, and is administratively part of the Homs Governorate.

Renewed interest in Crusader castles in the 19th century led to the investigation of Krak des Chevaliers, and architectural plans were drawn up.

In the late 19th or early 20th century a settlement had been created within the castle, causing damage to its fabric.

Since 2006, the castles of Krak des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-Din have been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The route through the strategically important Homs Gap connects the cities of Tripoli and Homs.

Homs was never under Crusader control, so the region around the Krak des Chevaliers was vulnerable to expeditions from the city.

While its proximity caused the Knights problems with regard to defending their territory, it also meant Homs was close enough for them to raid.

Because of the castle's command of the plain, it became the Knights' most important base in the area.

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