History buffs reenact Holy Land crusader battle
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History buffs reenact Holy Land crusader battle

Aficionados recreate 1187 clash between Saladin and Christian army from the Kingdom of Jerusalem

  • Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes eat dinner two nights before marching 27 kilometers (17 miles) to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin, from the ancient Israeli city of Zippori to Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 2, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)
    Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes eat dinner two nights before marching 27 kilometers (17 miles) to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin, from the ancient Israeli city of Zippori to Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 2, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)
  • Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs cook their breakfast before the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in Lavi Forest, northern Israel, July 4, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
    Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs cook their breakfast before the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in Lavi Forest, northern Israel, July 4, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
  • Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs, ride their horses on their way to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)
    Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs, ride their horses on their way to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)
  • Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes have breakfast before the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in Lavi Forest, northern Israel, July 4, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
    Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes have breakfast before the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in Lavi Forest, northern Israel, July 4, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
  • Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes wait in their camp before marching to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin (AP/Oded Balilty)
    Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes wait in their camp before marching to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin (AP/Oded Balilty)
  • An Israeli member of a knight club rests in camp before marching 27 kilometers (17 miles) to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin from the ancient northern city of Zippori to the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 2, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
    An Israeli member of a knight club rests in camp before marching 27 kilometers (17 miles) to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin from the ancient northern city of Zippori to the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 2, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
  • Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes have breakfast (AP/Oded Balilty)
    Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes have breakfast (AP/Oded Balilty)
  • Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)
    Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)

KARNEI HITTIN (AP) — The year is 1187 and the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem is beginning to collapse. At the Battle of Hattin, sword-wielding soldiers on horseback chant in Arabic, looking to behead their Christian targets.

Some 60 history buffs are re-enacting the famed battle near an extinct volcano in northern Israel overlooking the Sea of Galilee, where Saladin’s army defeated the crusaders at the end of the 12th century. The Battle of Hattin marked the strengthening of Muslim rule in the region.

Replete with swords, shields and body armor, the group marched 27 kilometers (17 miles) this weekend while re-enacting one of the most significant battles of the Middle Ages. The level of detail went down to the use of wooden and ceramic utensils and hand-woven undergarments reflective of the time.

“It’s a direct way of connecting to history, not through books and not through the computer,” said Genadiy Niznik, who organized the event and heads the only Israeli chapter of the “living history” trend.

About a third of the participants arrived with their elaborate gear from Russia. The project is supported by the Lower Galilee Regional Council.

Niznik, who is completing a master’s degree in archaeology at Haifa University and researches attire and textiles from the Holy Land of the 12th century, hopes the trend will begin to catch on in the Holy Land. He said the area offers stories and locales just as captivating as those of Civil War reenactments that draw big crowds in the United States.

Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs get dressed early in the morning before marching 27 kilometers (17 miles) to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin, from the ancient northern city of Zippori to the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 3, 2015 photo. Some 60 history buffs re-enacted the famed battle near an extinct volcano in northern Israel overlooking the Sea of Galilee, where Saladin's army defeated the crusaders at the end of the 12th century. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs get dressed early in the morning before marching 27 kilometers (17 miles) to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin, from the ancient northern city of Zippori to the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 3, 2015 photo. Some 60 history buffs re-enacted the famed battle near an extinct volcano in northern Israel overlooking the Sea of Galilee, where Saladin’s army defeated the crusaders at the end of the 12th century. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes eat dinner two nights before marching to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin, July 2, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes eat dinner two nights before marching to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin, July 2, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs build their camp (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs build their camp (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes wait in their camp (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs wearing medieval costumes wait in their camp (AP/Oded Balilty)
Knight gear laid on the ground after the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin at the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 photo. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Knight gear laid on the ground after the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin at the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 photo. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs get on their horses before marching to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin July 3, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs get on their horses before marching to the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin July 3, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin at the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin at the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015. (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel (AP/Oded Balilty)
An Israeli member of a knight club gets ready for the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in Lavi Forest, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)
An Israeli member of a knight club gets ready for the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in Lavi Forest, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)
Israeli and Russian members of knight clubs participate in the reenactment of the Battle of Hattin in the Horns of Hattin, northern Israel, July 4, 2015 (AP/Oded Balilty)

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

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