The Crusader Period

Crusader capital

In 1099, once the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem was established, Tancred of Hauteville was named Prince of Galilee and soon took on the renovation of the churches linked to the old evangelical memories, particularly Nazareth, Tiberiade and on Mount Tabor, as William of Tyre wrote, the historian at the time of the Crusades.

Saewulf, who visited Nazareth in 1102, told of a village in ruins, but also of a monastery located in the place of the Annunciation, which he indicated as extremely beautiful. In a few years Nazareth had become a bishop’s seat; in 1109-1100 that of Beit She’an was transferred there, and the Basilica of the Annunciation next to the aforementioned monastery was luxuriously restructured and equipped with lots of goods.

The chronicles of the Medieval pilgrims refer to the existence of many other holy places equipped with churches or chapels: Saint Jerome, Saint Zachariah also called Saint Mary of the Tremor, the Fountain of Mary not far from the church of Saint Gabriel, the Synagogue and Mount Precipice.

In the surroundings of Nazareth, the Crusaders build the church of Saints Joachim and Anna near Tzippori, to remember the apocryphal tradition that placed the house of Mary’s parents there.
Moreover, a fortress was built on the hilltop that rose above the ancient city with views over the plain of Zebulun beneath. Also on the Tabor, the mountain that dominated the entire Valley of Esdrelon, a fortress was built that held the Basilica of Transfiguration inside with the adjoining monastery.

The earthquake that hit Syria hard in 1170 would not have event spared Palestine, creating distruction and disorder and helping the Saracens in their fight against the Crusaders. The village of Nazareth was one of the places attacked by the Saracens. In order to support the Crusaders, Pope Alexander III asked the French faithful to give more donations for the church of Nazareth.

The first Crusader parable ended with the defeat at the Horns of Hattin on 4th July 1187, that provoked the taking of Nazareth by the Saladin troops and the killing of the Christians who had recovered inside the fortified Basilica. Raul of Coggeshall who visited the Holy Land during those dramatic years described the profanations that the "Sons of Sodom" perpetrated in numerous holy places. The peace treaty agreed with the Muslims in 1192 allowed the Christians to control the Basilica of the Annunciation. In this way, the flow of pilgrims was no longer restricted until the treaty was broken by Sultan Malik al-‘Adil in 1211.

The second Crusades began in 1229 with the ten-year agreement made between Frederick II and the Sultan Malik al Kamil who allowed the Christians the city of Nazareth as well as Jerusalem and Bethlehem. During this period, the pilgrimages began again and the Grotto of the Annunciation was also visited by King Louis IX of France who took part in the Holy Mass on 24th March 1251.

The story of Nazareth
Ancient Nazareth
The Byzantine Era
The Mamluks
The Ottoman Age
The last century