Monday, November 16, 2009

Tancred's Tower (with bride and groom)

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Recently I learned that at the recently completed Kikar Tsahal (IDF Square) there are remains of something called TANCRED'S TOWER.

I wanted to photograph it yesterday, before the sun set completely.
But to my surprise I ended up doing a wedding shot instead!
If you don't believe me, click on the photos.

A bride and groom!

At one point the video photograph had the young man jump off the wall and shout with joy, wave his arms and click his heels.

I rather doubt that the young couple was aware of the history of the spot.
If you are up to it, here is the story as told in Jerusalem, a walk through time, Yad Ben-Zvi's Walking-Tour Guide, Vol. 1, p 162:

"The northwest corner of the city wall . . . was one of the points where the Crusaders concentrated their forces for the assault upon the city, in the first phases of the siege in the sweltering summer of 1099.

At the foot of the city wall we see the remains of a moat and above it are particularly large stones that protrude from the wall. These are the remains of the base of a fortified tower, the continuation of which is situated in the basement of the Christian College des Freres within the city walls. . . . The tower (which was built during or after the Crusader period) . . . is known as Tancred's Tower, after the Norman Crusader commander from Sicily, who bivouacked here with his forces during the siege.

In the north the Crusader forces breached the walls near Damascus Gate. Using battering rams and siege towers several stories high, they rained arrows upon the defenders on the wall."

Damascus Gate

William of Tyre, a contemporary Crusader historian, wrote of this "It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of slain without horror . . . . Still more dreadful it was to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them."

After breaking through, the Crusaders rushed in to seize the Temple Mount where water from the cisterns quenched their thirst, following their weeks of shortage of water.
In the evening, after they already controlled the whole city, they proceeded to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to offer prayers of thanksgiving.
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For That's My World Tuesday this was a glimpse of my wedding-couple-world of just yesterday and of the bloody slaughter of 910 years ago. Same place but so very different.
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25 comments:

Marie Höglund said...

Facinating shots. Thanks for sharing :-)

Suzanne said...

HOW FABULOUS - the bride and groom and such a wonderfully rich place.

Sylvia K said...

Fantastic! Love the history, thanks for including that. Your photos are marvelous as always, Dina! It is interesting how the past and the present meet from time to time. This is a good example! Great post!

Enjoy!

Sylvia

J Bar said...

That's very interesting.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Jossie said...

You got a real bonus there. Great shots of then and now!

Jack and Joann said...

I bet they would be surprised to see themselves on your blog. Your grandson is cute as a button.

Hagemor said...

wonderful and interesting!!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Dina: Wonderful post with such neat history.

Dimple said...

Thanks for the history lesson; I learn so much from other bloggers!

Rambling Round said...

This is so neat, Dina! How lucky you were to get these photos of a bride and groom.

Kay said...

I am dittoing Sylvia's comment. I really enjoyed seeing the bride and groom at that historical spot but to read the what really happened there... Wow!

Leif Hagen said...

That's quite a place for the bride and groom to take some pictures! Cool!

Cloudia said...

Great post, Dina



Shalom & Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Sara said...

This was quite interesting. Thank you for the history too.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

The layers upon layers of history just continue to amaze me.

spacedlaw said...

I remember being read descriptions of the siege from William of Tyre at school and how horrifying visions the tale contained.

Marvin said...

It was nice for someone else to arrange interesting subjects for your photo shoot -- not that the wall and its history are not sufficiently interesting in themselves. I enjoyed your photos.

Robin said...

I love stumbling on wedding parties. Their joy is contagious and it so enriches the experience. Hopefully they didn't know about the site's past though, sheesh, that can't be good for happy marriage vibes.

One of my favorite photos ever is one we took of Clifford's Tower in York, England. GORGEOUS shot, as long as you don't think about the fact that it was the location of the horrific slaughter of the town's Jews in 1190AD.

Vaggelis said...

this is the last place that i was expecting to see something like this

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

That was quite an education. Thank you for sharing. Serendipity is the photographer's best friend (possibly my artist's statement if anyone ever asks ME about photography). The wedding couple are so sweet. The Catholic church I photographed this weekend had a couple getting married too. So much fun!

By the way, that was the holy family in the photo. There is a nunnery nearby; however, none of the church school teachers I know is a nun. I'll check because some of the nearby nuns may indeed teach there.

Hilda said...

What a contrast! If the couple had known of this bloody history, they might have chosen another spot.

I thought the name was familiar. I read a book last year about the Crusades. Awful history.

B SQUARED said...

Absolutely fascinating.

Jew Wishes said...

What a wonderful Tuesday travelogue. The photos and the history, and the wedding. Amazing, Dina.

JM said...

Fantastic stone walls!

Pietro said...

Dina, you were there at the right moment to take beautiful photos of the bride and groom. The place is fantastic, what a great atmosphere at the Damascus Gate!