An early 1930s aerial view of the Temple Mount from the south. The Dome of the Rock rises at the centre, on the site of the Jewish Temple, while in the foreground is the Asqa mosque, the headquarters of the Templars for much of the twelfth century.
A nineteenth century photograph of the Aqsa mosque seen from the north. The three central arches of the facade are very fine Templar work.
Covered in marble and mosaics, the Dome of the Rock has been described as ‘a purely Byzantine work’; in plan it was closely modelled after the domed Rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The dome of the Rotunda of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the left foreground, stands high on the western hill of Jerusalem and overlooks the Dome of the Rock. The Mount of Olives rises in the distance.
Bethlehem welcomed the First Crusade as liberators. Palestine in the eleventh century was overwhelmingly Christian.
The interior of the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem; a grotto beneath the altar is the traditional birthplace of Jesus. The church was rebuilt in the sixth century during the reign of the Emperor Justinian, reusing columns and capitals from the fourth century church built on this spot by the Emperor Constantine.
A nineteenth century photograph of Bethany, on the far side of the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem. Here, according to the gospels, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. A great monastery was built at Bethany by Queen Melisende and King Fulk in the twelfth century; its remains can be seen above the village to the right.
The ancient road from Jerusalem to the traditional baptismal place of Jesus in the River Jordan near Jericho. A massacre of pilgrims along this road at Easter 1119 led to the formation of the Templars. A castle from the crusader period stands on the hill to the right.
The Church of Our Lady at Tortosa, present-day Tartus in Syria. An elegant cathedral built in 1123, it marks the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic. Tortosa was a Templar stronghold until the Franks were driven from the East in 1291.
The great concentric castle of Krak des Chevaliers was a Hospitaller fortress standing guard over the Homs gap.
Chastel Blanc at Safita was a Templar castle in the Jebel al-Sariya, not far from the Assassins’ fortress at Masyaf. Like nearby Krak des Chevaliers, Chastel Blanc also defended the Homs gap. The pattern of houses round the central keep traces the pattern of the long vanished concentric walls.
The Citadel at Aleppo. The monumental gateway and entrance bridge were built by one of Saladin’s sons.
The Templar fortress of Chastel Pelerin was so strong that, according to an awed pilgrim, ‘the whole world should not be able to conquer it’. The last foothold of the Templars in the East, Chastel Pelerin was afterwards destroyed by the Mamelukes along with every castle, town and village along the coast.
The southwest corner of the Temple Mount with the Mount of Olives in the distance. The dome marks the Aqsa mosque, known to the Franks as the Templum Solomonis, which became the headquarters of the Templars.
The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt in the sixteenth century by the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnficent along the lines of the walls of the crusader period. This view is along the western walls of the city looking south. David’s Tower is the square bastion at the centre, surmounted by a minaret. The royal palace of the kings and queens of Jerusalem stood just beyond it.
The Rotunda, or Anastasis, of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The structure in the middle is the aedicule, or chapel, marking the site of Jesus’ tomb and resurrection.
Muslim pilgrims queuing to enter the aedicule built over the tomb of Jesus. Islam regards Jesus as a mortal prophet and a precursor of Mohammed.
Golgotha, or Calvary, within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been venerated by pilgrims as the site of the Crucifixion since the time of the Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena.
The Cenacle, or Upper Room, is an elegant Gothic hall built by the Franks in the twelfth century as part of the Church of St Mary of Zion. Pilgrims have been attracted to the site, believed to be that of the Last Supper and the Pentecost, since at least the fourth century.
Queen Melisende lies in a tomb set within this alcove off the steps leading down to the Tomb of the Virgin Mary in Jerusalem’s Kidron valley.
The Horns of Hattin, a strange double-peaked volcanic outcrop west of Tiberias, shrouded in a sandstorm. On 4 July 1187 the crusader army, parched with thirst, was destroyed as it advanced towards Saladin’s forces which stood in the foreground. Jerusalem fell two months later.
This secret Templar tunnel ran under the streets of Acre towards their fortress on the sea.
After the fall of Acre in 1291 the fortress of the Templars was destroyed; only the foundation platform survives under the Mediterranean shallows.
Foundation walls of the Templar fortress at Acre are favourite spots for fishing.
What was not destroyed at Acre was buried under earth and rubble which has recently been cleared to reveal the halls, courtyard and cloister of the Hospitallers’ headquarters. This vast chamber is called the Refectory of the Knights, but it may have been a crypt and probably had another hall above it.
A doorway surviving from the crusader period stands along a narrow street in Acre.
This great marble Gothic arch set in the facade of the Mameluke sultan al-Nasr’s madrasa in Cairo is in fact a magnificent piece of booty from the Church of St Andrew at Acre, a triumphant reminder of the conquest of Outremer.