A Walk Down Israel’s History Lane: The Crusaders Time

October 30, 2021
4 mins read

The land of Israel changed many hands from the beginning of time till this day. So many religions and kingdoms ruled this land, that I can’t mention in this one post.

This time I’ll focus on one particular period of time that has left a lot of impact on this region, and it’s remains we can still see today, scattered around the land.

I’m talking about the crusaders time. It was sometime between the 11th to the 13th century, almost 200 hundred years that another religion tried its luck at owning a land that is holy to many.

But we’ve got to go back almost 2000 years to understand the background of it all.

Christianity and Jerusalem

It was the beginning of counting but no one knew that then. At that time a very important event occurred, important for the majority of the world today.

It was the birth of a man with many names, though is known to all by Jesus. As the story goes, Jesus was born to a virgin mother, already a unique situation, but what makes it all even more special is that god himself is the father.

The story continues even further, because this boy is not just royalty, he himself has godly abilities. Through the years Jesus was able to gather followers around him, he was a great speaker and his preachings moved many, but he was also able to do things you and I can’t do even if we really tried.

He had powers, as the stories tell, he was able to walk on water, cure the sick and resurrect the dead, he himself had god in him and it was captivating.

Jesus was also jewish, the temple in Jerusalem was very important to him as to every other Jew. You see, the temple was the house of god, and this made this place the most sacred place to Judaism at that time.

But the temple was not managed right in Jesus eyes, and he decided to go there and fix it himself. On a donkey accompanied by his followers he entered Jerusalem and settled there.

On one of the nights a famous dinner occurred, it is known as the last supper, and soon you’ll know why. Jesus, as we already mentioned had special abilities, and he knew something that didn’t even happen yet.

On this meal he told his followers that information. He explained that between them sat a traitor. A man that could almost replace his right hand, a man that doomed Jesus’ life.

This man, we know today, as the story is already known to all, is Judas Iscariot. Judas had gone behind Jesus back to the authorities. Some say the jewish elders and other say it was the ruler of the area himself. Either way, what Judas had to say wasn’t liked by his listeners.

The morning after, armed men came to Jesus, men that came to seize the one who calls himself king of jews.

Back then an ordinary punishment was crucification, and so Jesus was led to his excruciating death, carrying the cross that will kill him. The cross and Jesus on it were placed on the outskirts of Jerusalem, not long after Jesus has lost his life there.

He was buried in the area and the followers kept on visiting his grave. One day, to the followers surprise, they found the grave open and the body of their leader no where to be seen.

Jesus appeared in physical form again, one that is a bit different from what we know. He resurrected, asking his followers one last time, to be baptized in front of god and follow his command.

From then on, for more than two thousand years, believers, now all around the world follow this request. Believers who we know today as christians.

Fast forward to the crusaders time

Now, I think I can explain better the story of the crusaders. But let’s start from who was where on the beginning of the 11th century.

Western christians ruled the western part of Europe. Some of the eastern side was controlled by the Byzantine Empire which was the continuation of the Roman Empire, and some by the turks. Jerusalem and the land of Israel (was called Palestine back then) were on and off controlled by Seljuk Turks and muslims.

That a lot to remember but bare with me, the byzantines and the turks were in a constant fight over territories, so at 1095, Alexius I, byzantine emperor at that time, had to request for help from the western christians against the turks.

At this point in time the byzantines and the christians had somewhat of good relations, uniting their two churches was considered, and so when Alexius asked for help from the christians, help came.

It was Pope Urban II who recruited the people. The muslims in Jerusalem controlled such an important land, it must be changed, Christians should be the owners of the Holy Land, Jesus’ land.

The people, strong christians, couldn’t stand aside, they joined knights and walked together toward the land they thought should be theirs.

On their way, they showed no mercy, taking more lands and killing more people. After almost three years the journey came to an end.

They arrived to Jerusalem and made the muslim ruler surrender. And even then, war wasn’t over for them. While entering Jerusalem they slaughtered many more people.

The crusaders were ruthless, and for two hundred more years, through the 12th and 13th century more crusades came to be and the war continued.

During those years the crusaders got hold of more parts of the Holy Land and settled there. Today you can find many ruins of crusaders’ forts, churches and other structures that provided shelter and protection for them, allowing them to live day by day in the area.

The End

As we all know, the crusaders didn’t last forever, in 1291 one of the last standing crusaders city fell to the hands of the muslims – Acre. This marked the end of the crusaders rule over the land and the end of the crusaders and crusades themselves.

That ended another chapter in the big book holding the story of that tiny land.

And what about the world you ask? although those wars were bloody, and in my opinion, very unnecessary it had a positive effect on the world we see today. It opened up opportunities for travel and learning all around Europe and allowed better transportation and more trade.

Back to our days, if you want to visit what was once a crusader fort – head over to our day trip recommendation to Jerusalem!

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