Famed Crusader battle comes to life in Israel for 828th anniversary

Fans of history convened from around the world in northern Israel to reenact an epic between the Crusades  and the Muslims.

A reenactment of one of the most important Crusader battles that occurred in Israel, the Battle of Hittin in 1187 near the Sea of Galilee, is taking place in Israel over the weekend, marking the battle’s 828th anniversary.

The battle, waged between the Crusaders and the Muslim forces of the Sultan Salah ad-Din, marked the strengthening of Muslim rule in the region and a decisive defeat for the Crusader’s Kingdom in the Holy Land.

Every year, the historical reenactment group “Regnum Hierosolymitanum” meets with enthusiasts from Israel and around the world to reconstruct the events that led up to the Battle of Hittin, as well as the battle itself in the actual landscape and in conditions similar to those prevailing at the time.

Replete with swords, shields and body armor, the group marches 27 kilometers (17 miles) while reenacting one of the most significant battles of the Middle Ages. The level of detail goes down to the use of wooden and ceramic utensils, and hand-woven undergarments reflective of the time.

During the reenactment, which is based on significant academic and archaeological research, participants are assigned to one of two armies: the King of Jerusalem Guy de Lusignan’s army, or Salah ad-Din’s army. The characters featured in the reenactment include knights, mercenaries, Christian pilgrims, countrymen, Bedouins, musicians, and others.

The project organizer, Genadiy Nizhnik, is an expert in medieval and biblical archaeology and the head of the Kingdom of Jerusalem club.

“It’s a direct way of connecting to history, not through books and not through the computer,” said Nizhnik of the event.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News