After the Crusades

4. After the crusades

After the crusades of the 12th century western occupants began to view Muslim customs, way of life and religion with fervent disapproval. However despite this there was certainly an appreciation for Saracenic architecture.

“Indeed, it is astonishing that priests and laymen who were so contemptuous of things Islamic, and who had grown up in culture featuring Gothic or Romanesque, should be so admiring of and so sensitive to Saracenic architecture.” (Setton and Hazard 1977, p.64)

One of the focuses of this western appreciation was the Dome of the Rock, despite the fact entrance is forbidden and the building could only be appreciated from a distance. It was agreed at the time to be one of the most beautiful buildings within Jerusalem. While early pilgrims were welcomed to experience the Dome of the Rock, violence began escalating against western pilgrims, this was in fact one of the main motives behind the Crusader capturing of Jerusalem in 1099.


Image: Section of the Dome @ 1887, Frederick Catherwood

The Dome of the Rock has since become a source of inspiration to a number of significant religious buildings on a global scale. (Examples include the Church of St. Giacomo, the Mausoleum of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in Istanbul).

Whilst the earliest of visitors came to Jerusalem out of sheer devotion to the pilgrimage sites, many visitors to the Holy Land afterwards began to migrate due to opportunities attached to the shrines and site. The economy began to thrive to accommodate these visitors from the west, as a result of the preservation of key pieces of religious architecture.


Setton, K., Hazard, H., (1977) A History of the Crusades: The Art and Architecture of the Crusader States. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press

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