For almost two hundred years, the crusaders ruled in the Holy Land. These years can be divided into approximately one hundred years—the first and the Second Kingdom. The capital of the first was Jerusalem. The capital of the second one was Akko. During the years of the first kingdom, there was no castle on the island in Atlit, as we can see it today. Instead, there was a small fortress on a hill east of the coastal strip. Only after the fall of the first kingdom and the loss of Jerusalem, King Jean de Brienne appealed to the European rulers and asked for help in building a castle for pilgrims. First of all, the military monastic orders responded to the request. The Teutonic Knights and Templars built the castle. In April 1218, the castle hosted the first pilgrims and became known as Castellum Perigrinorum, or in the medieval French Château de Pelerin. On August 14, 1291, the last crusaders left the Holy Land and went to Cyprus from this castle. The cemetery existed during all the years of construction and operation of the castle.
Atlit is a small town south of Haifa. In the shadow of the capital of North, Atlit is an unremarkable province. However, acquaintance with this place will amaze us with the diversity and depth of the events that took place here. Let's start, oddly enough, with the cemetery. Knights and pilgrims are buried there. This is the only cemetery in the Middle East from the Crusades' time in such good condition. Then our path will run to the refugee camp, which has become an immigration museum. Here we are, witnesses, for the incredible fate of people, secret paths of illegal immigration, and a really recreated atmosphere of those years: the presence of barbed wire, guard towers, disinfection, and wooden barracks tarred by the scorching sun. Then, after a short picnic, we will climb to the ruins of the Crusader fortress De Strua. These are the only sites associated with the history of the Crusades that can be visited in Atlit today. And finally, we will go to the secret azure lagoon, where you can swim and find the shells of the famous mollusk, which gave itself the most expensive and prestigious paint of the ancient world - purple.