Deus Volt

In March of 1095 Byzantium turned to the West for help against the Moslems. Pope Urban II organized a large council attended by thousands of Church dignitaries. This was followed up in November at the Council of Clermont where Urban's sermon so moved the crowds that they responded to his call to put their swords to the service of God with the answer, "God wills it". Jerusalem fell July 15 1099, two weeks before Urban himself succumbed, but [no internet then] he never knew.

Photograph © Sean Quigley

Photograph courtesy of the Israel Government Website
A Crusader fortress located some 20 km. south of the Sea of Galilee overlooking the Jordan River. Belvoir in name and reality. Its Hebrew name Kohav Hayarden (= Star of the Jordan) preserves the name of the Jewish village Kochav in Roman and Byzantine times. Stones from Kochav were re-used in building the castle. The Muslims called it Kaukab al-Hawa, Star of the Winds. In 1168 a Frenchman named Velos sold the land to the Hospitaller Knights who built a huge fortress with virtually impenetrable defenses. Following Saladin's defeat of the Crusaders at the Horns of Hattin (July 4, 1187) it took a year and a half siege before Saladin finally took Belvoir.

Crusader castles and churches are found scattered throughout Israel, from tiny to very large fortresses, from chapels to structures such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Those who wish to follow a specialized tour could spend easily a week or two visiting just these remains.