The castle, properly known as Gastun (or Gaston, Guascon, Gastim) provided a base for a force to cover the Syrian Gates, the passes between İskenderun and Antioch. It was built in two levels around a knoll, the fortification resembling Armenian work, and with water supplied by aqueducts.
It was built about 1153 by the Knights Templars and held by them or by the Principality of Antioch until it was forced to capitulate to Saladin on 26 August 1189. It was retaken in 1191 by the Armenians (under Leo II), and their possession of it became a major point of contention between them and the Antiochenes and Templars.
After much negotiation, it was finally returned to the Templars in 1216. According to the Armenian chronicles, it withstood a siege by the forces of Aleppo at about this time. After the fall of Antioch to Baibars in 1268, the garrison lost heart, and one of the brothers deserted and presented the keys of the castle to him. The remaining defenders decided to destroy what they could and surrender the castle. Despite the loss of the castle, Hethum II of Armenia and Leo IV of Armenia soundly defeated a Mamluk raiding force in the nearby pass in 1305.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kennedy, Hugh (2001). Crusader Castles. Cambridge University Press. pp. 142–144. ISBN 0-521-79913-9.
- ↑ "Smbat Sparapet's Chronicle". http://www.rbedrosian.com/css15.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
- ↑ Kurkjian, Vahan M. (1958). "The Kingdom of Cilician Armenia — Mongol Invasion". A History of Armenia. Armenian General Benevolent Union of America. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Asia/Armenia/_Texts/KURARM/30*.html. Retrieved 2007-01-29.