During the first crusade, approximately 10,000 soldiers swooped down on Jerusalem and wiped out 40,000 people many of whom were women and children. It was a massacre and in two bloody days, the "soldiers of Christ slaughtered everyone in their path." Jews were shut up in synagogues and set on fire. There's ton of background information offered as to why this Christian army was worked into such a bloody frenzy for those two days, July 15 and July 16th, 1099, but it was as bad or worse as any religious war has ever been. When there were few left to kill and the streets of Jerusalem were literally running with blood the barons got together at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and celebrated a mass. 200 yards outside, the last souls still standing were being savagely killed by the soldiers, "wading in blood and trampling on corpses. Knight and barons were praying and weeping for joy as they received the blessing of priests, among the candles and smell of incense. At the gates of paradise. Jerusalem was delivered. The faithful everywhere in the West were overflowing with joy."
And for the next 200 years it was one crusade after another. Abdul and I are in the pictures because Richard was the photographer that day.
Krac de Chevaliers is one of the most renown crusader castles, extolled by Paul Theroux as the epitome of the dream castle of childhood fantasies of jousts and armor and pennants. It was the outpost of the Knights Hospitaller for a while but later they were displaced by a blood thirsty bunch who held the countryside in hostage for decades. It was impenetrable in its day and it's claimed that 2000 people could live inside for years when it was under siege. The crusaders finally lost it through trickery...brains win over brawn once again.