Model  Crusader Ships Anchored in Acre Harbour

Part 1

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Poster eines Vortrages 2007 zum Thema Schiffbau im Mittelalter von Dr. Ulrich Alertz, Aachen Plan of Acre by Pietro Vesconte (around 1320)
Detail of a reconstructive drawing of the city done by Jonathan Riley-Smith,
published in Der Grosse Bilderatlas der Kreuzzüge,  Herder Publishers, Freiburg, 1992.

The approximate part of the modell is marked in red.

Acre was the second city in the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem, having been in Frankish hands from 1104 to 1187 and again from 1191 to 1291. The city was the main harbour of the kingdom in the 12th century and its capital in the 13th. It was also the centre of all military orders. Its loss in 1291 marked the end of the Crusader states in the Holy Land. Today it is a small harbour town in North Israel, situated on a promontory north of Haifa. Substantial remains of the city of the Crusaders are preserved underground of today’s old town, but they have only been excavated to a small extent. The city, surrounded by a double wall with towers at regular intervals and moats, was extended to the north in the 13th century (suburb of Montmusard). The city’s core was divided up into districts (Genoese, Venetian, Pisan, Templars, Hospitallers etc.), which were  fortified mostly separately. The most important monument preserved is the fortress-like complex of the residence of the Hospitallers to the north, excavated in the last years.

The modell shows a detail of Acre Harbour from the middle of the 13th century earlier than 1291. Two scientifically researched and historically documented types of ships are shown true to detail: A galley, called Tarida, which was built for the the armada of Karl of Anjon in 1274 equipped for 108 oarsmen. Moreover there is a nave from 1246, a ship for 450 pilgrims, from the armada of Ludwig IX, who was known as the Saint. 
These construction plans were kindly provided by the naval architect and technology historian, Dr. Ulrich Alertz, from the Historic Institute of the University of Technology in Aachen, Germany.

Scale                                       1:25
Base Area                                3 m x 2 m
Approximately 450 hand-crafted Christian figurines of mariners, pilgrims, knights and dockworkers.

Detail of the reconstructive drawing shown on the left
The approximate part of the modell is marked in red.


Burğ al-azna ("Tower of the Treasury“)
Tower of the Northern city wall, in its lower parts from Crusader Times.
ān al-‘Umdān ("Yard of the Chain“)
Frankish customs facilities of the harbour

 Residency of the Hospitallers, courtyard

Galley in the foreground; Nave in the background

Fotos: Bernhard Siepen; Bilder von Akkon: Dr. Mathias Piana, Augsburg

April 2008: Completion of the modell Crusader Ships Anchored in Acre Harbour with about 400 figurines altogether. The figurine scenes show: The unlading of the freshly arrived galley with crusaders ready to fight, the departure of the nave, which had been designed for 400 pilgrims and crusaders heading home. In front of the walls of the Yard of the Chain the typical dynamic   harbour and bazaar life and many travellers waiting for another ship can be observed: There are weary pilgrims, crusaders, casualties, sick and last but not least many war invalids.


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Copyright: Gesellschaft für Internationale Burgenkunde e.V., Aachen
Stand: 16.05.2008