Antioch Citadel, locally known as Antakya Kalesi, lies on a mountain above the city of Antakya in the province of Hatay in Turkey.
The first fortification at this site was probably built by the Macedonian King Seleucus I Nicator after he had founded the city of Antioch during the 4th century BC.
The Antioch Citadel of which we see the ruins today was rebuilt during the 10th century by the Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas. The citadel was built on a mountain called Mount Silpius, overlooking the city. It was an integral part of the city walls and its history is of course linked to that of the city of Antioch.
In 1078, Armenians seized power until the Seljuk Turks captured Antioch in 1084.
In 1097 an army of Crusaders led by Godfrey of Bouillon, Bohemund of Taranto, and Raymond IV of Toulouse sieged the city which was then governed by a Seljuk governor; Yaghi-Siyan. The siege lasted for 7 months before they conquered the city on June 3, 1098. Except for the citadel, which remained in hands of Yaghi-Siyan's son, Shams ad-Daulah. On June 9 however the crusaders themselves were besieged by a Muslim army under the command of Kerbogha, the Atabeg of Mosul, who had come in aid of Yaghi-Siyan. On June 28 the crusaders emerged from the city gate to fight the Muslim army. Raymond, who had fallen ill, remained inside to guard the citadel with 200 men, now held by Ahmed Ibn Merwan, an agent of Kerbogha. The crusaders won the battle and as Kerbogha fled, the citadel finally surrendered to the crusaders.
Antioch became the seat of the Principality of Antioch, one of the crusader states, for nearly 2 centuries until 1268 when it was seized by Baibars, the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. He destroyed the city and dismantled its defenses.
The area is prone to earthquakes and during the centuries the city suffered many earthquakes with devastating results. This is also the cause of the near total destruction of Antioch Citadel.
At present Antioch Citadel is freely accessible. There is a road leading to a viewpoint on the mountain and from there you can take a ca. 20 minutes walk over a forest path to the citadel. And although the remains of the citadel may not be spectacular the views over the surrounding countryside certainly are.