Incipit Certa Relatio de Situ Ierusalem (1102-1103)
With the arrival of the Crusaders in the Holy Land, the pilgrimages immediately started up again. The first pilgrim to leave a testimony of this period is Saewulf, a rich Anglo-Saxon merchant who set off from the south of Italy and after journeying for thirteen weeks, reached the port of Jaffa.
Saewulf, who stopped off in Nazareth, describes a completely destroyed village, probably following the violence perpetrated against the Christian inhabitants. He also testifies the presence of a very beautiful" monastery. The testimony leads to believe that the Crusaders immediately began work on the rebuilding of the Holy Place, perhaps starting with the monastery.
The Norman Tancred, Prince of Galilee, was the first to contemplate rebuilding the Basilica. He then filled it with goods of every kind, as writes William of Tyre, historian at the time of the Crusades, and other pilgrims who were able to visit the sanctuary in all its splendor.
« Nazareth, city of Galilee where the Blessed Virgin Mary received news of the Birth of the Lord, is four days walking distance from Jerusalem […]
The city of Nazareth was completely destroyed and brought to the ground by the Saracens; however, the place of the Annunciation of the Lord indicates it as a very beautiful monastery. An extremely clean spring of water flows in the city, decorated as it would have been before, with marble and square columns; this is where the Child Jesus along with other children often fetched water for his Mother. »
Unofficial translation of an extract from: Itineraria Hierosilymitana Crucesignatorum, Vol. II, by Sabino de Sandoli, Jerusalem 1983, pp. 26-27