Templar town and castle which had been granted to the Order (1149-1150) and constructed to increase the pressure on Ascalon. Egyptians failed in attempt to seize city (1150). Functional base from which the Order exercised control over the southern parts of the Kingdom.
Given to Saladin September 1188) by Templars in exchange for the captured Grand Master of the Templars, Gerard de Ridefort - it was a heavy price to pay. Briefly restored to Templars by Richard I (1192) but under Richard’s treaty with Saladin, defences demolished (September 1192).Held by Egyptians (1230s) - and following the defeat of the Franks by the Egyptians near Gaza (1239), Christian prisoners were held here (September 1240).
Crusader church - now Jamaa al-Akbar (Great Mosque).
"For my part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity: The throne is a glorious sepulchre."