The Sarvandikar Fortress – Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia

The Sarvandikar Fortress – Armenian Kingdom of CiliciaSarvandikar (Սարվանդիքար) fortress of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia was located in the mountains of the Amanus Pass. It belonged to the Armenian royal dynasty of Hethumids (Հեթումյաններ). Today, the fortress is located on the territory of Turkey, in the province of Osmaniye.

The unapproachable Amanus Pass located in the east of the Armenian kingdom had two entrances. The fortress of Sarvandikar towering here rises at the western exit of the northern passage.

The role of Sarvandikar was to protect the passages leading deep into the Armenian state. In view of the important strategic position, the fortress was the subject of a dispute between the Byzantines, Armenians, and Crusaders at various times.

In 1135, Levon I conquered the fortress of Antioch. The new ruler, Raymond of Saint-Galilee (of Poitiers), who acceded the throne of the Antiochian principality, began a war against Cilicia.

Together with Baldwin Marashsky, he attacked the possessions of Levon, but the latter, with the help of his nephew, Count Josselin II of Edessa, repulsed the attack of the Antiochians. After the victory, Levon agreed to negotiate with the Antiochians but was captured and sent to Antioch.

Having handed over a number of territories, including the Sarvandikar fortress, the Armenian king redeemed his freedom. After that, literally immediately after liberation from captivity, Levon I reclaimed the lost territories. The fortress and districts were handed to the hereditary princes of the Armenian royal dynasty of Hethumids.

In 1266, at the walls of the fortress, a battle of Armenian troops against the troops of the Mameluke leader Baibars, who had invaded the region, took place. The Armenians were defeated, resulting in a part of Cilicia being plundered by the Mamelukes.

In 1276, the armies of Armenians and Mamelukes battled near the fortress again. This time, the Armenian troops were victorious and defeated the Mamelukes.

Eventually, in 1337, as a result of the new invasion of the Mamelukes, the king of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, Levon V, signed a treaty, by which the whole region in the east of the Ceyhan river, including the Sarvandikar fortress, fell into the hands of Muslims.


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