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Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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192 reviews
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Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

A rather specialized question: On my November 2009 visit, I found for the first time the site of Karnei Hittin (the Horns of Hittin), the site of the climatic battle on July 4,1187 where the forces of Saladin defeated the Crusaders and doomed the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. I have a particular fascination with Crusader period (interest -- not admiration); I'm now in the process of listening to a 30-hour lecture series on the Crusader period through the Great Courses audio program. When I left the road to see what was there, I was very surprised that while it is a national park, there is really nothing there at all (at least that I could find). This is the site of what was one of the most important battles in world history, the turning point of the whole Crusader enterprise, but there is no interpretation or development of the site. Perhaps this is an American reaction -- the scenes of our major battles, particularly in the Civil War -- are major national parks with all kinds of historic interpretation.

So, two questions:

(1) For the guides and others knowledgeable about such issues, is there any prospect for more being done with this site?

(2) Is it possible to walk the site itself? When I went, I only found a dirt road that ended with a fence. I could not find a way in.

Thanks for any light you can shed!

Douglas Duckett

Edited: 9:17 am, March 13, 2013
Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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14,398 posts
192 reviews
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11. Re: Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

I'm not trying to get into some debate, but the comment about the lack of archeological remains to develop misses the point. Few battlefields have that -- even ones as recent as the Battle of Gettysburg (turning point of the American Civil War) or Normandy, the site of the D-Day invasions of Europe. I have not been to Normandy, but other than the Allied cemetery and memorials in some towns, I suspect you'd find four beaches, unremarkable in themselves. But those four beaches were the site of a momentous struggle that turned the tide of history, and my guess is that there is a lot of interpretive information available to help one "see" it -- not in actual artifacts that remain, but in the mind.

Now, I know we know a whole lot more about the details of Gettysburg and D-Day than we so about the Battle of Hittin on July 7, 1187. But this site marks the doom of the Crusader enterprise, and is one of those few battles that genuinely mark a massive turn in history. More than a dirt road and a national park (in theory, without anything there) would be a helpful commemoration of that enormously important event. That was my sole point. It's not the end of the world, but it is an anomaly in my view, and a shame.

Now, I'll move on. I appreciate those who tried to help with information instead of acting like the question was a silly one. I know doubt say silly things from time to time, but I don't think my point here is a silly one, even if others may not share the view.

Douglas Duckett

Edited: 2:46 pm, March 14, 2013
Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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12. Re: Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

Sorry. Wrong date -- that's July 4, 1187. :-)

Edited: 2:47 pm, March 14, 2013
Tel-Aviv
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for Tel Aviv
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13. Re: Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

<< But this site marks the doom of the Crusader enterprise >>

Not exactly. It marked the doom of only part 1 of the Crusader enterprise. The subsequent Third Crusade, led by Richard the Lion Heart, recaptured the entire coastal area by 1191 and re-established the Kingdom of Jerusalem (which never regained Jerusalem). It survived until 1291 when Akko was captured by the Mamelukes.

Israel
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14. Re: Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

I think that all those concerned about the lack of development should write letters to the Department of Antiquities and Ministry of Tourism with their concerns. Additionally if anyone on TA knows of any large donors perhaos funds could be obtained for a proper excavation (yes it is an archaeological site with ruins), signs and maybe even a visitors center.

Chana

Israel

Cincinnati, Ohio
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15. Re: Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

Great suggestion, Chana. I don't have large funds (if I did, I'd come more often and stay at nicer hotels!), but your suggestion is a sound one.

Again, mbgg, I'm not going to get in some tit-for-tat debate for the sake of being contrarian. If you don't recognize the Battle of Hittin as a huge turning point that eventually marked the doom of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, then you haven't studied the history. I see it as a huge turning point much like Gettysburg (war went on two more years), and much like like D-Day (war went on nearly another year) or Stalingrad or El Alamein (war went on three more years). Turning points aren't instant and are not in themselves finally conclusive -- they are only evident in retrospect. No one knew at the time of any of those battles what the ultimate outcome would be. But looking back, their importance is evident.

Again, thanks to those who came with helpful ideas.

Douglas Duckett

Tel-Aviv
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for Tel Aviv
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16. Re: Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

Douglas:

I think you totally misread my comment. I wasn't arguing about the importance of the battle; I was merely pointing out the the Crusader kingdom survived for another hundred tears, in a reduced form.

Speaking of battles that "changed the course of history", it appears that Saladdin was very active in this field. He also managed to stop the advance of the Mongols at the battle of Ain Jalut in the Jezreel Valley, also considered by historians as one with tremendous importance !

17. Re: Karnei Hittin/Horns of Hittin

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