Just about everyone who ruled Jerusalem throughout history came here – to the Tower of David. It’s a matter of routine for us to be surrounded by archaeological remains dating to the times of the Hasmoneans, Romans, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Ottomans, etc.
Although we love technology and innovation, the charm of the “non-technological” past is found in every corner, stone, and wall of the citadel. One can say that we live within history. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we were so excited when we met the “Kingdom of Jerusalem” club.
If the words “club” and “Kingdom of Jerusalem” cause you to remember your thick high school history books with terror orto yawn in boredom – stop! You are invited to join us and become acquainted with one of the most interesting clubs we have ever encountered.
Like any club, the Kingdom of Jerusalem Club has acceptance criteria:
- Are you crazy for adventure?
- Do you breathe challenging sports?
- Do you like to take off with your imagination?
- Are you open to new experiences?
- Are you actors from birth?
- Do field conditions excite you?
Congratulations, you’ve been accepted!
First, though, let’s understand what is really happening and how it all started. The members of the Kingdom of Jerusalem Club live in two parallel worlds. In the first world, they are economists, computer programmers, graphic designers, drivers, doctors, etc. who in their free time, visit the Middle Ages, in every sense.
It all started when Gennady, the head of the club and a tour guide and archaeologist during the day, read a study about the Battle of the Horns of Hattin, which took place on July 4, 1187 between the army of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, led by Guy de Lusignan, and the Muslim army, led by Salah ad-Din from the Job Dynasty. The battle ended with a decisive victory for the Muslims. The Crusader army was almost entirely destroyed. The Crusader kingdom collapsed and the Muslim army gained sovereignty in the Land of Israel.
The Battle of the Horns of Hattin has fascinated many researchers and history lovers. It was a battle between the strong Crusaders, who were well-equipped and whose fighting methods were advanced compared to those of the militarily inferior Muslims, whose equipment was technologically unsophisticated and far less advanced. Despite the large gap between the two groups, the Muslims scored a decisive victory and, not surprisingly, this battle has fascinated researchers and gave rise to studies and articles.
The three critical days of the battle were carefully recorded by Crusader and Muslim survivors including the smallest details of dialogue, thoughts, dress, and conduct and Gennady, who was captivated by the magic of the descriptions he read, decided to take a few friends and travel to the Galilee, to the place where the battle took place.
For two days, the group walked along the path where the blood-soaked battle took place, in an attempt to relive the battle or at least to understand it in the place where it all happened.
From there – its history, modern history, and the members of the club began to reenact the fantasy that captivated them.
They decided to try to reenact the journey and the battle on the actual date on which it occurred, in the month of July. In order to reenact the journey and the lives of the soldiers, they studied the time period down to the smallest detail, focusing on everyday life, preparing appropriate decor to recreate the ambience, recruiting l friends to successfully recreate the military units and the logistics, and, essentially, to take part in a three-day journey to the Crusader/Muslim army as ordinary soldiers.
In order to live in the Middle Ages, one must learn how to live in the Middle Ages.
The members of the club went on an educational journey where each member chose, according to his interests, the profession he or she wanted to specialize in and, believe it or not, there is quite a wide and diverse range of professions to choose from and specializing in them is a mission no less difficult than studying engineering, computers, or accounting. They specialized in cooking, reconstruction of music, martial arts, fencing, weaving, spinning, and felting and everything was done according to archaeological and historical sources, studies, articles, illustrations, and excavation reports.
Gennady says that even the shirt he wears was prepared by a traditional process after an extensive study of the way in which clothing was prepared and sewn in the Middle Ages. After studying and research, Gennady designed the shirt according to historical and archaeological findings and sewed it himself on a manual loom in a process that lasted a few days.
Throughout the year, the members of the club research, improve their equipment, focus on the small details, and establish a knights estate in which the knights experience everyday life in the Middle Ages until the climax, which comes each year in the month of July: the reenactment of the battle for three consecutive days.
We didn’t hold back and we asked Gennady what his life is like in the first world, in other words, in the year 2017. Is his lifestyle “normal” or has it been taken over by the Middle Ages? Gennady admitted that his home has become a warehouse from the Middle Ages with “strange people” coming and going.
In honor of summer, we invited the members of the club to reenact the life of the knights from the Middle Ages and to live history with us at the Citadel of the Tower of David.
For the members of the club, being in the ancient citadel, parts of which were built during the Crusader period, feels like home. When the flags of the Crusader military leaders hang in the Jerusalem citadel, almost 1,000 years after the Kingdom of Jerusalem fell, history comes to life and the stones begin to talk!
The summer activity “The Citadel of the Knights” awaits you on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays during the month of August. It is advisable to check the activities page of our website for the exact dates of the activities.
We have brought you a small taste of the many activities that took place at the Citadel of the Knights!
A small mobile military machine, which serves blacksmiths from the latter period of the Middle Ages (the 13th Century, 14th Century), was built by Gennady, who reconstructed it according to archaeological sources and illustrations. During the Middle Ages, it was intended for use by a small rescue corps which would perform, for the military, repairs of ruins and armoring/shoeing/manufacturing of small weapons such as nails and knives. The machine is comprised of double-acting bellows through which the air passes and a small furnace. The heat needs to reach between 900 to 1,000 degrees, depending upon the material to be worked with. The metalworking is performed according to studies, stories and illustrations from the Middle Ages and even biblical metalworking, including Biblical stories regarding the manner in which the golden leaves from the period of Mount Sinai were created.
See how a real military metalworking machine works: