Invasion, Invasion, Invasion Jerusalem: The Making of a Holy City


Invasion, Invasion, Invasion

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Jerusalem, the Holy City,

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is regarded by many as the actual centre of the world.

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Since the Bronze Age, it's been the object of desire

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for both conquerors and prophets.

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Each one claiming the city,

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and robbing their predecessors of their past.

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Jerusalem is ever-changing - it's never been the same,

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and that is both its blessing and its curse.

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This beguiling place has changed hands many times,

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often with violence and bloodshed.

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And for many, this religious capital

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will be the setting for the Day of Judgement,

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when the world will end.

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In the early 7th century,

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a new faith arose out of the Arabian peninsula.

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This faith would revere Jerusalem,

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already sacred to Jews and Christians,

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but the new movement would adapt and commandeer their traditions.

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This was Islam.

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Its followers believe that their founder, too, came here,

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like Abraham and Jesus before him.

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But what would the arrival of a third faith

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mean for the unfolding story of Jerusalem?

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I'm a writer and historian,

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and I've been coming to Jerusalem since childhood.

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It's been a holy place,

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the site of a sacred spring, for some 4,000 years.

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This was where the Jews built their temples

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for the worship of their one God,

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where the Canaanites, Greeks and Romans idolised their pagan gods,

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and where Christianity was founded.

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In the 4th century, Constantine the Great created Christian Jerusalem,

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building the enormous Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre

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and commandeering the sacred symbols and relics of Judaism.

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The Temple Mount where the Jewish Temple once stood

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was deliberately preserved in ruins

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to celebrate the victory of Christianity over Judaism.

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The Jews were a persecuted minority, and in the 7th century

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they remained banned from Jerusalem by the Christian Byzantines,

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who still ruled the Middle East.

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The Christians had even claimed for themselves

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many of the Jewish traditions of the Temple Mount,

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and now they moved these, wholesale,

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over to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre -

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Adam's skull, Abraham's altar,

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and the oil-bearing horn that had anointed King David

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joined Christian relics

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such as the lance that had pierced Jesus' side, and of course,

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the true cross. They even moved the official centre of the world

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from Temple Mount, to its new home, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

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But the Byzantine Empire had grown weak.

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And Christian Jerusalem was about to be changed

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by the revelations given to one man.

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800 miles away, in the Arabian desert,

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a young merchant named Muhammad lived in the pagan town of Mecca.

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But he knew of Jerusalem, and he came to respect

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the Jewish AND Christian scriptures.

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According to tradition, in 610 AD,

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the Archangel Gabriel visited Muhammad.

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He came to believe he was chosen to be God's messenger.

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When the Prophet received God's revelations,

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it was said that his face became flushed, he fell silent,

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he lay limp on the floor, engulfed by visions and humming sounds.

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And then, he began to recite these divine and poetical revelations.

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At first, they were just chanted aloud

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then they were divided into 114 chapters,

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and finally, collated into a book, known as the Koran.

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Muhammad preached submission - in Arabic, "Islam" -

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to the one God, in return for universal salvation.

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And for him, Jerusalem mattered.

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Respectful of the Jewish and Christian prophets,

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he venerated this place.

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Unlike Jesus, Muhammad was not a miracle worker,

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but one, apparently mystical, experience

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would link him for ever with the city.

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Muhammad's followers believed that one night

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he was awoken by the angel Gabriel,

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and mounted a stead with a human face, named Al-Buraq.

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And together, they flew on his night journey

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to a place called "the Furthest Sanctuary".

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There he met and prayed with the most revered prophets of Judaism

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and Christianity, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus,

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and then ascended to Heaven.

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And it's this that would turn the spotlight on Jerusalem

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for the emerging faith.

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From the earliest days of Islam,

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this Furthest Sanctuary was identified with the Temple Mount.

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And today, it's known as Haram Al-Sharif - the Noble Sanctuary.

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Jerusalem remains a sacred destination

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for Muhammad's followers.

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On this day every year, Muslims gather here to commemorate

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the night journey of the Prophet Muhammad to Jerusalem,

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making this city one of the most holy places in the world

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for Muslims today.

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Al-Isra, or the Night Journey,

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is celebrated in mosques across the city.

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Mustafa Abu Sway leads fellow Muslims in prayer.

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My understanding of the Night Journey is that

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it's the night that established the perpetual relationship

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between two parts of the Muslim world, Mecca and Jerusalem.

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It's an invitation to the children of Abraham

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to reconnect with Jerusalem.

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It was a night in which the Prophet himself

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connected personally with Jerusalem,

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when everyone knows that all prophets

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had that sublime relationship with this holy city.

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Muhammad's message wasn't just one of prayer and peace -

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he was also a formidable statesman,

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and he sent an expeditionary force to probe the defences

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of Byzantine Palestine.

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I wonder if he was already dreaming of reaching Jerusalem.

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In any case, Islam was getting closer.

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Muhammad died in 632.

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But his vision continued under his successors,

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who were known as the caliphs, or "Commanders of the Faithful".

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And just five years after their Prophet's death,

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three Islamic armies were converging on Jerusalem.

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It's thought there was a reason for their urgency.

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That these early Muslims may have believed

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the end of the world would take place here.

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Muhsin Yusuf has studied what drove Muhammad's followers.

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The Day of Judgement, the end day,

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was extremely important for almost everybody.

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The religious people especially came to Jerusalem

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and they wanted to occupy it because they wanted to be here

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in the Day of Judgement, because they think,

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they thought in that time -

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that they would ascend to Heaven from here, from Jerusalem,

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so they wanted to be close.

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But for the average soldiers, it was important,

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but it's not like the religious people.

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They wanted to revenge against the Byzantines

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who tried to attack Muhammad.

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Driven by these political AND religious motives,

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the Islamic armies surrounded and laid siege to the Holy City.

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Inside, the Christians, led by the Patriarch Sophronius,

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thought the Muslims had been sent as punishment for their sins.

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Fearful of a bloody storming of the city,

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they started to negotiate and agreed to surrender,

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on one condition -

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that the terms of the takeover were personally guaranteed

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by the Muslim Caliph himself, Omar,

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a puritanical giant who reinforced his authority with a big stick.

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The Caliph Omar arrived in Jerusalem to accept the surrender of the city.

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The patriarch Sophronius presented him with the keys of Jerusalem,

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in return for the promise that the Christians could worship freely.

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The so-called "Pact of Omar".

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Omar had won Jerusalem for the early Muslims.

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But he went further still.

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For him, the now ruined Jewish shrines on the Temple Mount

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were important to Islam, too.

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He and his warriors cleared away the debris to pray there.

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He was deliberately co-opting, the ancient Jewish tradition

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of sanctity there, for the new and final revelation of Islam.

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And he even invited the Jews themselves,

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who had been exiled by the Christians, back to the city

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so they, too, could pray on the Temple Mount.

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But the central importance of Jerusalem to Islam was paramount.

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The new faith would build

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right on the site of the Jewish Temple itself.

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This would become the jewel in the crown of Islamic Jerusalem,

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and a monument to the splendour of those Arab caliphs who built it -

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the Umayyads.

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The Umayyad empire was one of the largest in the world

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and in 685 Abd al-Malik became its Caliph.

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Abd al-Malik was a triumphant empire builder and religious reformer.

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He won a vicious civil war against his enemies

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and when he captured one rebel leader, he led him around

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on a dog leash, hacked off his head and tossed it to the crowd.

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But despite this brutal exterior,

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he also indulged his more aesthetic sensibilities,

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and his most enduring achievement is still breathtaking.

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And it was the legacy of Judaism that he drew on

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for the location of this most ambitious of projects...

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..adding a new layer of holiness to an already sacred site.

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It's one of the most successful

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and beautiful religious buildings ever constructed.

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Dominating the Temple Mount, it's the Dome of the Rock.

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It's not a mosque, but a shrine,

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and mysteriously, Abd al-Malik never said why he built it.

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The design was exquisitely simple -

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a dome, 65 feet in diameter supported by a drum...

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..all resting on octagonal walls.

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The golden Dome, the gleaming white marble

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and the lavish decorations are a powerful combination.

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It's unlike any other Islamic shrine in the world.

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Directly beneath the Dome is the Rock itself.

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Then, as now, this spot marks for so many the centre of the world.

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This is a very ancient stone.

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No-one knows its ultimate origin,

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but this is certainly the holiest place in all of Jerusalem.

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This is the place where some believe Adam's skull is buried,

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where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac,

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where the Jewish holy of holies, supposedly stood.

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This is the place whence Muhammad the prophet ascended to heaven

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during his night journey.

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And it's an amazing place, just to stand,

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and believe that this is the essence the foundation stone,

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of Jerusalem sanctity.

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Jerusalem now had an Islamic shrine,

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but still needed a mosque for Friday prayers.

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Built by Abd al Malik and his son,

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it's known as "Al Aqsa", the farthest mosque.

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Between them, Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock,

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celebrated Islam's claim to Jerusalem.

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The Jewish Temple Mount was now an Islamic shrine,

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and its magnificence outshone any of the Christian monuments.

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Surely, that was always Abd al-Malik's intention.

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For over 300 years, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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had been the centre of all religious life in Jerusalem,

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but now the Muslims had reactivated and reinvigorated the Temple Mount

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adopting and adapting many of the traditions of the Jews

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and the Christians, and of course, adding many of their own.

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From now on, Jerusalem had two centres of sanctity -

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the Christian and the Muslim.

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The Umayyads ruled from Syria, but loved Jerusalem,

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and even considered making it their imperial capital.

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Right here, just south of the Temple Mount,

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the Umayyad caliphs built a magnificent palace complex,

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often using stones from the old Jewish temple.

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There were vast expansive courtyards, and tinkling fountains.

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And amazingly, they designed it so they could walk

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straight from their third floor apartments

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into their new and magnificent Al-Aqsa Mosque up there.

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These carvings once decorated the Caliph's palaces.

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They're 1,400 years old,

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but give a glimpse into an Islamic world that today, is unimaginable.

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The Umayyads were more like decadent Roman emperors

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than puritanical Islamic rulers.

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Islam actual banned the depiction of human faces,

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but as you can see, from these decorations,

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the Umayyads enjoyed naked dancing girls.

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Some with cartoonish faces, and some bare-breasted and brazenly sexual.

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This was not our traditional image of early Islam.

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Far from it. In fact, it would have been fun to be an Umayyad.

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Yet, even under this decadent, easy-going

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and rather tolerant dynasty,

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Islam was changing and becoming more exclusive.

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The Jews had been allowed to worship on the Temple Mount

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for about 80 years,

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but in 720, the Caliph banned them

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from entering those precincts at all.

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They were allowed to continue to live in the city,

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but the Jews weren't allowed on to the Temple Mount again

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for over a thousand years.

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Jerusalem was ruled by the Umayyads

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and their successors, the Abbasids, for more than three centuries.

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They were mainstream Sunni Muslims.

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But since the 7th century, Islam had been split into two strands.

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In 969, a new mystical dynasty from Egypt conquered the city.

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They belonged to the other strand of Islam, the Shiites.

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Their caliphs claimed descent from the Prophet's daughter Fatima.

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They were known as Fatimids

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and they were much more tolerant towards Christians and Jews.

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Christian pilgrims were flocking to the city

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as the new millennium approached.

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Around this time, there were rumours that Jerusalem would be ruled

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by a mystical last Christian emperor,

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who would herald the End of Days.

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But the Muslims regarded their own Fatimid Caliphs as sacred kings

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and by the year 1000, a child was Caliph of the Fatimid Dynasty.

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This sacred boy ruler was Al-Hakim. He grew up to be broad-shouldered,

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handsome and his blue eyes were speckled with gold.

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He adored poetry, he loved literature and he was aesthetic.

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He was a popular and beloved young Caliph.

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But he was increasingly obsessed with his own semi-messianic status.

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He took to wandering the streets at night,

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in mystical trances induced by opium.

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Then he ordered massacres of dogs and cats, and banned chess.

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Gradually, Hakim was going mad.

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The Fatimid Caliphs considered themselves to be touched

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by the divine, suspended between God and man.

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But soon it seems Hakim believed he was wholly divine

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and he began to exercise his powers to devastating effect.

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Hakim, who was swiftly emerging as the Arab Caligula,

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soon unleashed his first purge against the Jews and the Christians.

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He ordered Jews to wear a grotesque cow-like halter

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to remind them of the golden calf.

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And they had to ring bells to warn Muslims of their approach.

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Then he offered them the choice - death or conversion -

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and thousands of Jews started to flee the country.

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As for the Christians,

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it was a sacred ritual performed just once a year

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at their holiest site that provoked Hakim's dangerous fury -

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the descent of the Holy Fire.

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On Holy Saturday night,

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crowds fought for a place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

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Christ's tomb was sealed, and all lamps extinguished until,

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amid emotional scenes, the patriarch entered the Tomb.

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Thousands of pilgrims waited in spine-tingling anticipation,

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and total darkness.

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First, there was a spark, then a flicker,

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then brightness flared.

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And the patriarch emerged holding the Holy Fire...

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..which was then passed from pilgrim to pilgrim in scenes

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of total abandon and wild joy.

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To the Christians, it was a miracle confirming the divinity of Christ.

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But to Hakim, it was a piece of trickery,

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an exhibition of fairground hucksterism,

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and as soon as he heard about it,

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he ordered the total demolition of THIS place.

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The reconstruction of the Holy Sepulchre would take decades

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and never even approached the glory or scale of the original.

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Scarcely anything remains of Constantine's Basilica...

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except here.

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A three-minute walk away from today's Holy Sepulchre

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is this little known Russian church, the Alexander Nevsky.

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Hakim destroyed Constantine the Great's Basilica,

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the first church of the Holy Sepulchre, almost down to bedrock

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and virtually nothing was left,

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but it's one of the joys of Jerusalem that you find

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in the most unexpected places hidden treasures.

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And this pillar is one of them. Here it stands,

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down in the bell room of a 19th-century church.

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And this pillar once stood in the magnificent basilica

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of Constantine the Great.

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And as you touch it,

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you can feel the presence of his vanished Jerusalem.

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Destroyed by the insane delusions, of a messianic tyrant,

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Al-Hakim.

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Despite Hakim's worst excesses, still the Christians kept coming

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on holy pilgrimages that were increasingly fashionable.

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But Fatimid Jerusalem now fell to Turkic warlords,

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who threatened and massacred the Christian pilgrims.

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Europe issued a rallying cry to rescue the Holy City.

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In 1095, Pope Urban the Second created a new Christian concept -

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holy war for Jerusalem.

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In return for the remission of sins and salvation,

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Christians would conquer Jerusalem

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and cleanse the holy sites of the vile infidel.

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Tens of thousands vowed to become holy warriors,

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setting off through Europe into Asia Minor.

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Some were organised armies led by princes and their knights.

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Others were mobs led by holy men.

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For around three years, these crusaders battled their way

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towards their sacred goal.

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Of 80,000 who set off,

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probably only around 10,000 survived the perilous journey.

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On Tuesday 7th June 1099, in punishing heat,

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the crusaders finally received the reward for all their suffering.

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They emerged from the hills around Jerusalem to see before them

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the city of the king of kings, and before them too,

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the tomb of their lord, Jesus Christ.

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By nightfall, they were encamped around Jerusalem.

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Far from home, the crusaders' choice was stark -

0:26:510:26:56

death, or victory on the ramparts of the Holy City.

0:26:560:27:01

Things seemed hopeless.

0:27:040:27:06

But Italian sailors arrived just in time.

0:27:070:27:10

They dismantled their ships

0:27:100:27:12

and built siege engines from the timbers.

0:27:120:27:15

There would be no going back.

0:27:160:27:18

Finally, at almost the last moment,

0:27:230:27:26

the crusaders identified the weakest point in Jerusalem's defences,

0:27:260:27:30

and somewhere around here, they rolled up their siege engines

0:27:300:27:33

against the wall where it was lowest and fought their way into the city.

0:27:330:27:38

Simultaneously, they broke in through the southern walls, too.

0:27:410:27:45

And began their vicious slaughter of the Muslim faithful,

0:27:470:27:50

whether citizens or soldiers.

0:27:500:27:53

The battle raged for hours,

0:27:550:27:57

the crusaders killed everyone they could find,

0:27:570:28:00

in the streets and the alleyways.

0:28:000:28:03

They didn't just chop off heads but also feet and hands,

0:28:040:28:08

delighting in the fountains of cleansing infidel blood.

0:28:080:28:13

They seized babies from their mothers

0:28:130:28:15

and dashed their heads against the walls.

0:28:150:28:19

Ultimately, they hacked and diced so much human flesh

0:28:190:28:23

that they literally rode up to their bridals in blood.

0:28:230:28:28

The fleeing Jerusalemites took refuge on the roofs

0:28:330:28:36

of the Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock.

0:28:360:28:38

But the Crusaders smashed their way onto this crowded sacred esplanade.

0:28:400:28:45

Some Muslims leapt to their deaths.

0:28:460:28:49

Jews sought refuge in their synagogues,

0:28:510:28:53

but the Crusaders set them on fire.

0:28:530:28:55

After 48 hours, the slaughter was over.

0:29:030:29:06

At the Holy Sepulchre, princes and priests sang in praise of Christ,

0:29:130:29:18

clapping jubilantly and bathing the altar in tears of joy,

0:29:180:29:23

before parading through the streets.

0:29:230:29:25

But the city was almost empty.

0:29:300:29:32

The numbers killed have been exaggerated to as many as 70,000.

0:29:320:29:37

But the toll was probably between 10,000 and 30,000 dead.

0:29:370:29:41

Such was the slaughter that six months later,

0:29:420:29:46

Jerusalem would still stink of putrefying bodies.

0:29:460:29:50

The Crusaders who died in battle were laid to rest in this graveyard,

0:29:520:29:57

next to the Golden Gate, ready to rise on Judgement Day.

0:29:570:30:02

Benny Kedar has studied what drove them.

0:30:040:30:08

Evidently the Crusaders seeked to attain salvation

0:30:090:30:13

by joining the Crusade,

0:30:130:30:16

by fighting in it, by dying on it.

0:30:160:30:19

But this was not their only motivation one can ascribe to them.

0:30:190:30:25

Certainly, there were people who were seeking

0:30:250:30:28

a new life in a new country.

0:30:280:30:31

There were people who were adventurers and sometimes

0:30:310:30:35

their motivation was an amalgam of these three aims.

0:30:350:30:39

So what was the significance of this place outside the Golden Gate

0:30:390:30:43

to the Crusaders?

0:30:430:30:45

Of course, this is the place where, according to Jewish, Christian

0:30:450:30:49

and Muslim tradition, the End of Days is going to take place,

0:30:490:30:53

and everybody wants to have a good seat for that occasion,

0:30:530:30:56

and that's why you have all these cemeteries all around to this day.

0:30:560:31:00

The Crusaders had slaughtered the people of Jerusalem,

0:31:070:31:10

but they didn't destroy their holy places.

0:31:100:31:13

As so often in the city's history,

0:31:150:31:17

they seized their enemies' sacred sites and made them their own.

0:31:170:31:22

The Crusaders, like the Muslims before them,

0:31:240:31:27

believed many of the buildings in Jerusalem

0:31:270:31:30

had actually been constructed by David and Solomon.

0:31:300:31:33

So, they turned the Dome of the Rock into the temple of the lord,

0:31:330:31:36

Templum Domini. And they turned the Al-Aqsa mosque

0:31:360:31:39

into the temple, or palace, of Solomon, both became churches.

0:31:390:31:44

New bells were installed, their sound symbolising the Christian

0:31:530:31:59

and not the Islamic call to prayer.

0:31:590:32:02

Jews and Muslims were banned on pain of death from entering the city

0:32:020:32:07

and very few of them were even left alive.

0:32:070:32:10

Syrian and Armenian Christians were invited to settle in Jerusalem

0:32:130:32:17

to increase its population.

0:32:170:32:20

This now Christian city was once again the capital of a kingdom,

0:32:220:32:26

the Kingdom of Jerusalem,

0:32:260:32:28

whose lands included much of today's Israel, Jordan and Lebanon.

0:32:280:32:32

Crusader Jerusalem was about to enter its golden age,

0:32:420:32:46

under a remarkable woman who deserves to be better known,

0:32:460:32:49

Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem.

0:32:490:32:52

In 1129, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

0:33:020:33:08

witnessed its first royal wedding.

0:33:080:33:10

Melisende, the daughter of King Baldwin II,

0:33:100:33:14

married Fulk, Count of Anjou.

0:33:140:33:16

And they then processed through cheering streets

0:33:160:33:21

and then spent their first night together in the royal apartments

0:33:210:33:24

of the Al-Aqsa mosque.

0:33:240:33:26

The pomp and popularity of the royal wedding

0:33:310:33:34

was a sign of what was to come for Jerusalem.

0:33:340:33:36

Under Queen Melisende, the city would flourish.

0:33:380:33:42

She embellished Jerusalem, creating much that we see today.

0:33:440:33:48

She built the classic Crusader Church of St Anne's

0:33:510:33:56

and the markets of Jerusalem.

0:33:560:33:59

They're still the markets today.

0:33:590:34:02

Melisende's Jerusalem had a population of around 30,000,

0:34:030:34:08

plus streams of pilgrims.

0:34:080:34:09

But it was a dangerous city.

0:34:130:34:15

The medieval version of the wild west.

0:34:150:34:19

Murderers, adventurers and whores came here to make their fortune.

0:34:200:34:25

Its political intrigues were notoriously sleazy,

0:34:270:34:30

even the respected Queen herself was implicated.

0:34:300:34:34

Melisende was famously beautiful and as formidable as any man.

0:34:350:34:40

But even she had her share of scandal.

0:34:400:34:42

Rather bored with her middle-aged husband, King Fulk,

0:34:420:34:46

she started to spend a lot of time with the young and handsome

0:34:460:34:50

Count Hugh of Jaffa.

0:34:500:34:51

King Fulk accused them of having an affair.

0:34:520:34:55

And one day, while Count Hugh was sitting in a Jerusalem cafe

0:34:550:34:59

playing dice, he was approached and stabbed by a mysterious knight.

0:34:590:35:04

King Fulk's critics claimed that he'd ordered

0:35:040:35:07

the assassination of his wife's lover.

0:35:070:35:09

When the knight was tried, tortured and then publicly dismembered,

0:35:090:35:14

only his tongue was left intact,

0:35:140:35:17

to prove the King's innocence.

0:35:170:35:21

Melisende and King Fulk made it up.

0:35:230:35:26

Even if the Queen had lost her love, she kept her power.

0:35:260:35:30

And soon she would celebrate her greatest achievement.

0:35:320:35:36

Melisende and her son rebuilt and reconsecrated

0:35:370:35:41

the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

0:35:410:35:43

It remains to this day the masterpiece

0:35:460:35:48

and dazzling holy stage set of Crusader Jerusalem.

0:35:480:35:52

But even as the Crusader kingdom enjoyed its heyday,

0:36:030:36:08

Islam resolved to win back the Holy City.

0:36:080:36:10

And the man who would launch this new holy war was Saladin.

0:36:140:36:18

Saladin was a remarkably gifted statesman,

0:36:240:36:28

beloved by his princes and generals, whom he alone could bind together.

0:36:280:36:32

And by the standards of the 12th century,

0:36:320:36:35

he was a very attractive leader.

0:36:350:36:37

He was wise, moderate, humane.

0:36:370:36:41

But above all, he loved Jerusalem.

0:36:410:36:44

"I've had my fill, of earthly pleasures," he said.

0:36:440:36:48

From then on, he devoted himself to the holy war, to liberate Jerusalem.

0:36:480:36:54

Jerusalem's strategic nightmare was that Syria AND Egypt

0:36:560:37:00

would unite against her.

0:37:000:37:01

Now, Saladin seized both, encircling Jerusalem

0:37:030:37:07

and threatening to strangle the kingdom.

0:37:070:37:09

And he was fortunate in his enemies.

0:37:130:37:15

The dynasty of Christian warrior kings had run dry.

0:37:160:37:20

In 1187, Saladin defeated Jerusalem's army

0:37:200:37:26

and captured its inept king.

0:37:260:37:28

And so, on Sunday 20th September, Saladin surrounded Jerusalem

0:37:330:37:39

determined to storm the city and massacre the Christians.

0:37:390:37:42

Inside, women prayed for mercy at the Sepulchre.

0:37:480:37:51

Without a king, the Jerusalemites appointed a respected baron, Balian,

0:37:520:37:57

to lead them.

0:37:570:37:59

As Saladin's troops attacked the city,

0:37:590:38:02

the walls were defended by mere boys.

0:38:020:38:04

So Balian made an uncompromising offer.

0:38:050:38:09

He told Saladin, "First we will kill all our own women and children,

0:38:110:38:14

"then we will demolish your Dome of the Rock and your Al-Aqsa mosque

0:38:140:38:19

"and only then will you get the city."

0:38:190:38:21

To save Islam's holy places,

0:38:220:38:25

Saladin agreed to negotiate a peaceful surrender.

0:38:250:38:28

But the Christians would still pay a heavy price.

0:38:300:38:34

All the Jerusalemites would be ransomed or enslaved.

0:38:350:38:39

But for Saladin, this was the fulfilment

0:38:390:38:42

of his entire life's work -

0:38:420:38:44

Saladin got Jerusalem.

0:38:440:38:47

Saladin sat on his throne and watched,

0:39:000:39:04

as two vast columns of Christians left the city.

0:39:040:39:07

The Christians turned and wept,

0:39:070:39:10

as they gazed upon Jerusalem for the last time.

0:39:100:39:14

With the Christians gone,

0:39:260:39:28

Saladin turned his attention to the Dome of the Rock,

0:39:280:39:32

which he called, "The jewel of the signet ring of Islam."

0:39:320:39:36

When Saladin retook possession of the Haram al-Sharif,

0:39:360:39:40

the Temple Mount, for Islam, it was a triumphant personal moment

0:39:400:39:43

for him and for his dynasty and for the faith.

0:39:430:39:46

He immediately set about cleansing the Temple Mount

0:39:460:39:50

of any vestiges of Christianity.

0:39:500:39:53

He pulled down the cross from the top of the Dome

0:39:550:39:58

which had been used as a church, and ripped out the Crusader apartments

0:39:580:40:03

from within Al-Aqsa mosque.

0:40:030:40:06

When that was done, he brought vast quantities of rose water

0:40:070:40:11

up onto the Haram and Saladin himself, the sultan, his princes

0:40:110:40:15

and all his generals got down on their knees right here

0:40:150:40:18

and scrubbed the Haram's stones with rose water

0:40:180:40:22

to cleanse it for ever of the pollution of the Christian infidel.

0:40:220:40:27

Like the Crusaders before him, Saladin did not raze the city

0:40:300:40:34

but adapted and embroidered its sacred places,

0:40:340:40:39

using the buildings of his enemies.

0:40:390:40:42

These Christian decorations probably once stood in a Crusader church.

0:40:440:40:49

Now they adorn the Muslim Dome of the Ascension.

0:40:490:40:53

Saladin's mission was to re-create an Islamic Jerusalem.

0:40:590:41:03

He left the Church of the Holy Sepulchre intact,

0:41:050:41:08

but he banned all church bells.

0:41:080:41:12

FAINT CALL TO PRAYER

0:41:150:41:18

The Islamic call to prayer would hold the monopoly of sound,

0:41:180:41:22

and the sultan could enjoy the city that he adored.

0:41:220:41:25

After the expulsion of the Christians,

0:41:330:41:36

Saladin settled Muslims here from all over the Islamic world.

0:41:360:41:40

And brought back the Jews.

0:41:420:41:44

Saladin had won the city through the weakness of his opponents.

0:41:500:41:54

But the news of Jerusalem's fall had shocked Christian Europe,

0:41:550:41:59

from kings to peasants.

0:41:590:42:02

Saladin's luck was about to run out.

0:42:040:42:07

The greatest warrior in all Christendom

0:42:070:42:10

was on his way to rescue Jerusalem.

0:42:100:42:13

It was Richard the Lionheart.

0:42:130:42:16

Richard was six foot tall, red-haired and ruthlessly competent.

0:42:190:42:24

He was a showman and warrior who wielded a sword

0:42:240:42:28

that he claimed was Excalibur.

0:42:280:42:30

He was capable of surprising political and religious flexibility.

0:42:330:42:38

Richard and Saladin were evenly matched.

0:42:380:42:42

To take Jerusalem, Richard marched down the coast

0:42:440:42:47

and defeated Saladin at the Battle of Arsuf.

0:42:470:42:50

Now the Christian Crusader was poised

0:42:530:42:55

to threaten Saladin's hold on Jerusalem.

0:42:550:42:59

Saladin waited nervously inside the city. His generals advised him

0:43:000:43:05

that if he didn't leave, he might be trapped inside a devastating siege.

0:43:050:43:09

Saladin wavered, but he knew that if he left the city,

0:43:110:43:14

his generals would surrender it to Richard.

0:43:140:43:16

The thought of abandoning his prize was too much.

0:43:190:43:23

Still a few days' march away,

0:43:400:43:43

Richard realised that even if he captured Jerusalem,

0:43:430:43:47

he would not be able to hold her

0:43:470:43:49

whilst Saladin's vast empire was in tact.

0:43:490:43:52

Richard's only option was to negotiate.

0:43:530:43:57

First, Richard wrote to Saladin - "The Muslims and the Christians

0:43:590:44:04

"are both done for, the lands are ruined at the hands of both of us.

0:44:040:44:09

"All we have to discuss is Jerusalem,

0:44:090:44:10

"the True Cross and the territories.

0:44:100:44:14

"But, Jerusalem is the centre of our worship,

0:44:160:44:20

"which we will never renounce."

0:44:200:44:23

Saladin replied to this. He said,

0:44:230:44:26

"Jerusalem is as much ours as yours,

0:44:260:44:29

"but it is greater for us.

0:44:290:44:31

"Because it is the place that our Prophet visited

0:44:310:44:34

"on his night journey."

0:44:340:44:36

Either way there was a big problem in the way of a deal.

0:44:360:44:40

Both men wanted to possess Jerusalem totally.

0:44:400:44:44

Unable to reach a settlement, the fighting between Richard

0:44:510:44:54

and Saladin continued until their armies were at a standstill.

0:44:540:44:58

Yvonne Friedman believes that these two men had much in common.

0:45:010:45:06

How important was Jerusalem to each of them, Richard and Saladin?

0:45:060:45:10

For both of them, it was the goal, the aim of the war.

0:45:100:45:15

But Saladin fought more wars against Muslims

0:45:150:45:20

than against Christians.

0:45:200:45:22

He couldn't envisage the possibility of giving up Jerusalem.

0:45:220:45:28

But... And it was the crown of his achievements.

0:45:280:45:32

For Richard, it was the goal he never achieved.

0:45:320:45:37

Who do you think was the greater man, Saladin or Richard?

0:45:370:45:40

They were both great men,

0:45:400:45:43

but Saladin was a better statesman,

0:45:430:45:46

a better politician.

0:45:460:45:48

While they were both great warriors,

0:45:480:45:51

Richard, on the battlefield, actually won.

0:45:510:45:56

And he was a great leader of soldiers.

0:45:560:45:58

He was not a great statesman,

0:45:580:46:00

and I don't think he was a great English king.

0:46:000:46:03

And so on 2nd September 1192,

0:46:090:46:12

the Sultan and King agreed the Treaty of Jaffa.

0:46:120:46:16

The first partition of Palestine.

0:46:180:46:20

The Christian kingdom received a new lease of life

0:46:230:46:26

with Acre as its capital.

0:46:260:46:29

Saladin kept his treasured Jerusalem,

0:46:290:46:32

only granting the Christians access to the Holy Sepulchre.

0:46:320:46:36

Richard, it seemed, had got the raw end of the deal.

0:46:380:46:42

Richard the Lionheart had failed.

0:46:470:46:50

Saladin the Islamic Sultan ruled Jerusalem.

0:46:500:46:54

And even though these two men shared the same passions,

0:46:540:46:57

the same love for Jerusalem,

0:46:570:46:59

the same chivalry and the same ruthlessness, they never met.

0:46:590:47:03

Saladin invited Richard to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem,

0:47:030:47:07

but Richard was adamant -

0:47:070:47:09

if he couldn't possess Jerusalem totally,

0:47:090:47:12

he preferred never to set eyes on it.

0:47:120:47:15

Six months after signing the treaty, Saladin died.

0:47:270:47:31

But his nephew, who loved the city, came to live here,

0:47:330:47:36

embellishing it with new buildings and new walls.

0:47:360:47:40

But within a generation, the Crusaders were back.

0:47:420:47:46

This time they invaded Egypt,

0:47:480:47:51

the jewel of the family's Empire.

0:47:510:47:54

Threatened by its loss, Saladin's nephews took a drastic step.

0:47:540:47:59

They believed that if the Crusaders took the city,

0:47:590:48:02

they would kill everyone inside it and dominate all of Syria.

0:48:020:48:07

So they demolished Jerusalem's walls to destroy her military value

0:48:070:48:12

and offered her up to save Egypt,

0:48:120:48:16

the lesser of two evils.

0:48:160:48:18

This desperate act backfired.

0:48:180:48:21

The Crusaders were defeated in Egypt and fled for home.

0:48:210:48:25

They never even got near Palestine, let alone the Holy City.

0:48:250:48:29

Saladin's family had destroyed the walls

0:48:320:48:34

of their beloved Jerusalem for nothing.

0:48:340:48:37

Today these stones are all that are left of the walls,

0:48:400:48:44

a poignant reminder of the glories and the decline

0:48:440:48:48

of the House of Saladin.

0:48:480:48:50

The Jerusalemites wept and fled.

0:49:000:49:04

The city was now left defenceless.

0:49:040:49:07

It seemed like the end for Jerusalem. On the Haram,

0:49:100:49:13

women, children and old men ripped their clothes and tore their hair

0:49:130:49:17

and scattered in all directions, as if it was the Day of Judgement.

0:49:170:49:22

And yet, Jerusalem was about to change hands again,

0:49:250:49:28

in an unlikely and forgotten deal

0:49:280:49:31

that strangely prefigures the peace negotiations of our own times.

0:49:310:49:37

Saladin's dynasty had become weakened by family feuds

0:49:410:49:46

when a new and unorthodox Crusader

0:49:460:49:49

arrived on a very different kind of crusade.

0:49:490:49:51

He would be the most eccentric ruler that Jerusalem has ever had.

0:49:540:49:59

This maverick was Frederick II.

0:49:590:50:02

King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor,

0:50:120:50:14

Frederick was the most powerful monarch in Europe.

0:50:140:50:18

Heir to lands from the Baltic to the Mediterranean.

0:50:180:50:22

And more importantly, he knew his enemies.

0:50:250:50:28

Frederick was unique, because he was at home with Islam.

0:50:290:50:33

It was said that he'd grown up

0:50:330:50:35

in the back streets of semi-Islamic Sicily

0:50:350:50:38

running wild with a bunch of Arab urchins.

0:50:380:50:40

He spoke Arabic and he even had a harem.

0:50:400:50:44

His enemies regarded him as the Antichrist,

0:50:440:50:46

the beast of the apocalypse.

0:50:460:50:49

His friends, though, and admirers called him Stupor Mundi,

0:50:490:50:52

the wonder of the world.

0:50:520:50:55

Unlike other Crusaders before him,

0:50:580:51:00

Frederick realised that he was too weak to fight for Jerusalem.

0:51:000:51:05

But so, too, was his Muslim opponent,

0:51:070:51:10

Saladin's nephew, Sultan Kamil.

0:51:100:51:12

The solution? These two educated men immediately opened secret talks.

0:51:140:51:20

As the Sultan and the Emperor negotiated,

0:51:230:51:25

they discussed Aristotelian philosophy, arid geometry,

0:51:250:51:28

Islamic theology, and they also sent each other gorgeous dancing girls.

0:51:280:51:33

Frederick, of course, did everything his own way.

0:51:330:51:36

He lived like an Oriental potentate.

0:51:360:51:39

And in between bouts of serious negotiations,

0:51:390:51:42

he went on long hunting trips and spent time seducing new mistresses.

0:51:420:51:47

He even wrote chivalrous poetry to his new Syrian mistress.

0:51:470:51:52

When the negotiations wavered,

0:51:580:52:00

Frederick prepared his troops for battle.

0:52:000:52:03

This did the trick. His army wasn't needed.

0:52:050:52:09

Instead, a ground-breaking power-sharing deal was struck.

0:52:090:52:13

In 1229, Frederick achieved the undreamable -

0:52:170:52:22

in return for ten years' peace,

0:52:220:52:24

he received all of Jerusalem including this, the citadel.

0:52:240:52:28

The house of Saladin kept the Temple Mount,

0:52:280:52:31

and the Muslims enjoyed full freedom of worship and access.

0:52:310:52:35

Only the Jews were left out of this deal,

0:52:350:52:38

but very few of them remained in Jerusalem.

0:52:380:52:41

This shared sovereignty remains, even today,

0:52:410:52:45

the most daring peace deal in all of Jerusalem's history.

0:52:450:52:49

Through this shrewd alliance with Islam,

0:52:580:53:00

Frederick had won the city for Christianity.

0:53:000:53:04

But the fact that the Dome of the Rock remained under Muslim control

0:53:040:53:08

led to some accusing him of betraying the Crusader cause.

0:53:080:53:12

Reuven Amitai thinks that this free-wheeling polymath

0:53:160:53:19

wasn't just playing at politics.

0:53:190:53:22

Frederick had a pretty good idea what this was all about.

0:53:220:53:25

Frederick was, as is well known,

0:53:250:53:27

was a very successful, a very, very powerful, a very hands-on ruler.

0:53:270:53:32

And I think he knew that this was a relatively cheap way,

0:53:320:53:36

in terms of manpower and resources,

0:53:360:53:39

and just general aggravation, to achieve the main goal.

0:53:390:53:43

He wanted to look good.

0:53:430:53:45

He was certainly not a naive babe in the woods.

0:53:450:53:48

So what was the reaction of both sides to the secret deal?

0:53:480:53:51

I think that deep down, in both societies,

0:53:510:53:55

there was difficulty accepting

0:53:550:53:57

that one could make real peace with the other side.

0:53:570:54:00

The idea that two rulers would strike a deal of such magnitude,

0:54:000:54:04

and so publicly, perhaps, was difficult to swallow.

0:54:040:54:07

When the deal was complete,

0:54:110:54:13

Frederick received the keys to the city

0:54:130:54:15

from the Muslim commanders.

0:54:150:54:18

And characteristically, Frederick put his own stamp on the occasion.

0:54:180:54:23

Here in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,

0:54:250:54:27

Frederick held a crown-wearing ceremony,

0:54:270:54:30

attended not by priests, but by his German troops.

0:54:300:54:34

It wasn't so much a coronation, more a symbolic display

0:54:340:54:38

of his universal power as Christian emperor.

0:54:380:54:42

But his triumph was spoiled.

0:54:460:54:50

The Pope, to punish him for his haughty independence,

0:54:500:54:53

had excommunicated him.

0:54:530:54:55

And now he was forced to leave his own city.

0:54:550:54:59

He had won Jerusalem, but he could never enjoy it.

0:54:590:55:03

130 years after the First Crusaders' bloody conquest,

0:55:140:55:18

the city was Christian again.

0:55:180:55:21

But without its walls, Jerusalem was insecure.

0:55:250:55:28

And after the death of the co-signer of the treaty, Kamil,

0:55:310:55:35

peace didn't last.

0:55:350:55:37

The city was tossed back and forth between Islamic princelings

0:55:380:55:42

and Crusader barons.

0:55:420:55:45

On 11th July 1244, 10,000 Kharismian Tartars rode towards Jerusalem.

0:55:570:56:04

Recklessly invited in by Saladin's feuding descendants,

0:56:070:56:11

these mercenaries were now out of control.

0:56:110:56:14

The horsemen clattered into the city,

0:56:180:56:21

fighting and hacking their way through the streets.

0:56:210:56:24

They destroyed churches and houses.

0:56:260:56:29

Christian Jerusalem was under attack.

0:56:310:56:35

The Tartars burst into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,

0:56:380:56:42

Christendom's holiest shrine. They set it on fire.

0:56:420:56:44

When they found the priests celebrating mass at the altar,

0:56:440:56:48

they beheaded them and disembowelled them.

0:56:480:56:51

Then they smashed into the tombs of the Crusader kings of Jerusalem,

0:56:510:56:54

right under this chapel. They pulled out the bodies

0:56:540:56:57

and threw them onto a bonfire.

0:56:570:56:59

And finally, they smashed the stone

0:56:590:57:02

at the door of the tomb of Jesus Christ himself.

0:57:020:57:06

When they had thoroughly destroyed and pillaged Jerusalem,

0:57:120:57:15

the Tartars galloped away.

0:57:150:57:18

Over 2,000 Christians were massacred.

0:57:200:57:23

Jerusalem was at rock bottom.

0:57:280:57:30

It resembled a devastated village,

0:57:300:57:33

without walls, ruined and half empty.

0:57:330:57:36

It seemed as if Jerusalem couldn't sink any lower.

0:57:360:57:41

For the moment Jerusalem was desolate,

0:57:470:57:50

controlled by different Islamic warlords.

0:57:500:57:53

Hoards of invaders galloped through her streets at will.

0:57:550:58:00

There were few Muslims, let alone Christians left...

0:58:020:58:06

..and just a handful of Jews.

0:58:070:58:09

And yet she remained sacred for the three faiths.

0:58:110:58:14

Could one of them provide a champion to rebuild her?

0:58:150:58:19

Could Jerusalem once again become THE Holy City,

0:58:190:58:23

the centre of the world?

0:58:230:58:27

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:460:58:49

E-mail [email protected]

0:58:490:58:52

Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. For the Jewish faith, it is the site of the western wall, the last remnant of the second Jewish temple. For Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the site of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest sanctuary of Islam.

In episode two, Simon discovers the impact on the holy city of a new faith - Islam. He explores Muhammad's relationship with Jerusalem, the construction of one of Islam's holiest shrines - the Dome of the Rock - and the crusaders' attempts to win it back for Christianity.

He also brings to life lesser-known characters, whose impact still resonate - Al Hakim's destructive delusions of grandeur and Queen Melisende's embellishment of crusader Jerusalem, as well as the notorious stand-off between Saladin and Richard the Lionheart.

The episode ends in the 13th century with King Frederick II, whose groundbreaking power-sharing deal prefigures the tortuous peace negotiations of our own times. Then, as now, peace did not last.


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