Awhile ago, I found myself researching and interested in the Templars versus the Assassins history. I had come across a video game called Assassins Creed which highlights this historic rivalry; in a non historically accurate narrative. While the story Assassins Creed used had no historic value(except for some small details), the Templars and Assassins represented by Christians, Ismaili Shites, Ismaili da’i, and other religious warrior sects were indeed an important part of this time period. After reading James Wasserman’s The Templars and the Assassins: The Militia of Heaven, I came to understand the Islamic heritage that is still clinging to existence in war torn Syria. From the Fatmid Caliphate to Pope Honorius III and the fifth crusade, this time period reflected a war that was waged across vast middle eastern lands and in some senses shaped the tribal communities of the middle east to this day. During these battles the importance of defensive positions and architecturally sound castles to protect invasion and even deter attacks became a common military strategy. This lead me to my epic build minecraft quest. The Krak Des Chevaliers played an important role during these religious wars and to this day remains a UNESCO world heritage site struggling to find peace among a modern day Syrian civil(and increasingly global and geopolitical) war. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26696113
A brief history of the Krak des Chevaliers also known as the Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El Din can be found here
In short this castle and fortification remain as an historical example of the importance in defensive and fortification strategy of the crusaders time period. I wanted to undertake this mammoth (big for me atleast) recreation in minecraft.
Building the Crac des Chevaliers
First here are some statistics about the build. I flew while building this structure 27.5 miles or 44.25km. I laid 45,397 block by hand without using any game mods that allow you create large swaths of blocks in a quick time period, each block was a click of the mouse for me. The structure itself is as close to a 1:1 scale in minecraft terms as I could with my ability get it. Visuals for the castle were slim so I chose to model the build after these three pictures.
It is far from a perfect recreation, since there were things my minecraft skills just could not recreate. I tried to build noticeable features from each picture. For example, the bridge entering the castle seemed significant to me. That was my first recreation after laying the base and foundation. .
I found myself building a wall and then coming back to work on the bridge, from there I wanted to create as best I could the round towers that lined the outside walls. I also wanted to demonstrate that raised inside fortification.
Second to building the outside fortification walls, the inside flooring and eventual walls took the longest. In minecraft a day night cycle equals 20 realtime minutes. I was on my 57th minecraft day.
1 week (7 days)
1 month (30 days)
30 days in minecraft is essentially 10 hours real life time., I was coming in around the 19th hour of building (it became an obsession of mine, and now I want to build something BIGGER, like perhaps every college football stadium to scale, or UNESCO world heritage sites, I don’t know, I just want to build! haha). Could you imagine the man power it took to build the actual Crac des Chevaliers? It is mind blowing! After all that time I came to what I felt was time to call it quits. I could have spent 20 more hours doing small detailed touches to the inside of the buildings and grounds themselves but to be honest I was getting worried I was falling behind in the other quests for class. My final build looked like this.
Hopefully you can see the resemblance. Below is a video flyover