For other uses, see Holy Land (disambiguation).

The Holy Land (also known as Bilad Ash'Sham in Arabic) is a term which refers to the geographical region of the Levant of no definite borders which has significant religious importance for Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith. Nowadays, it comprises roughly the territory of Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and parts of Lebanon. Part of the significance of the land stems from the religious significance of Jerusalem, the holiest city to Judaism, the birthplace of Christianity, and the third-holiest to Islam. The perceived holiness of the land to Christianity was the ideological driving force behind the Crusades. The land has been a destination for religious pilgrimages since biblical times.


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The Tanakh does not refer to the Land of Israel as "holy land"; but as land given to the Israelites by God, and commonly referred to as the "promised land". Only occasionally is it referred to as the holy land. The cities of ancient Israel, on the other hand, are at times referred to as holy cities. According to the list of "Four Holy Cities", Jerusalem, Hebron, Tzfat and Tiberias are regarded as Judaism's holiest cities. Jerusalem, as the site of the Temple, has been the spiritual focus of Judaism.[1]

Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Hebrew Bible. Zion, which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel, appears 154 times. In the Book of Genesis, the area of Jerusalem called Mount Moriah, the location of the binding of Isaac, is believed by many to be the Temple Mount.

In the Hebrew Bible, Jerusalem and the Land of Israel are considered a divine gift, part of several covenants. Jerusalem has long been embedded into Jewish religious consciousness. Jews have studied and personalized the struggle by King David to capture Jerusalem and his desire to build the Jewish temple there, as described in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Psalms. Many of King David's yearnings about Jerusalem have been adapted into popular prayers and songs. Jerusalem is mentioned in many Jewish prayers; the Passover seder prayer ends with Next year in Jerusalem. Jews turn towards Jerusalem to pray. The Western Wall of the Temple of Jerusalem, also known as the "Wailing Wall," has been a site of Jewish pilgrimage for centuries. It and the Temple Mount are considered the holiest sites to Jews.


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For Christians, the concept of a Holy Land is derived from the promise made by God to Abraham in Genesis 15:18-21. New Testament Matthew 2:19-21 refers to the land as the land of Israel: "an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel."

"The uniqueness of the Land of Israel is thus 'geo-theological' and not merely climatic. This is the land which faces the entrance of the spiritual world, that sphere of existence that lies beyond the physical world known to us through our senses. This is the key to the land's unique status with regard to prophecy and prayer, and also with regard to the commandments." [2]

The concept of the land being holy is especially prominent in the Book of Numbers. The land is also considered holy because God's "holy people" settled there. At the end of Joshua, the land has been distributed among the tribes, the patriarchal promise is fulfilled and the land becomes the holy land.[3]

The Holy Land is also significant in Christianity because of the association with the place of birth, ministry, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, who Christians regard as the Saviour or Messiah.

The holy cities for Christians of all denominations are:

During the Crusades, Christian pilgrims often sought out the Holy Places in the Outremer, especially in early 12th century immediately after the capture of Jerusalem.[4] Besides the sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Christian holy places also included:


Muslims consider the land of the Mount Sinai to be sacred, as mentioned in the Qur'an.

Moses said unto his people, 'O my people, enter the Holy Land, which Allah hath decreed you.' - (Qur'an 5:21)

The first few months of Islamic history considered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to be the first Qibla (direction of prayer), as opposed to the Kaaba in Mecca. Both Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, are considered to be sacred in Islam. In Arabic, the city of Jerusalem is known as "Al-Quds", meaning "the Holy".

Muslims believe that Muhammad journeyed on a Buraq from Masjidul Haram in Makkah, to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and back. Scholars debate whether the journey took place physically or spiritually through a metaphorical vision. It was at the Al-Aqsa Mosque that Muhammad performed Salah (the prayers) with all of the Prophets of Islam, and thereafter ascended to heaven, called Mi'raj.

Muslims also consider the depression below Mount Sinai, known as "Tuwa", to be sacred as mentioned in the Qur'an as the "Holy Valley" (الوادي المقدس):

'Has not there come to you the story of Moses? How his Lord called him in the holy valley of Tuwa' - (Qur'an 79:15-16)

There are other mentions of "Holy" or "Blessed" land in the Qur'an, however there is much dispute amongst scholars as to the exact whereabouts of those places. For instance, the "Blessed Land" referred to in verse [21:71] has been interpreted very differently by various scholars: Abdullah Yusuf Ali likens it to a wide land range including, Syria, Palestine and the cities of Tyre and Sidon; Az-Zujaj describes it as, "Damascus, Palestine, and a bit of Jordan"; Qatada claims it to be, "the Levant"; Muadh ibn Jabal as, "the area between al-Arish and the Euphrates"; and Ibn Abbas as, "the land of Jericho".[5]

The term "Holy Land" is also often used by Muslims (although not in the Qur'an) in reference to the Hijaz - the land of the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. Shi'a Muslims also include the land of Karbala under the high status of a "Holy Land" based on narrations from the archangel Gabriel to Muhammad.[6]


The Bahá'í World Centre is the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith located in and around Haifa and Acre, Israel.[7] The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, located in Bahjí near Acre, Israel and is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and represents their Qiblih, or direction of prayer, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area including the Arc buildings.[7] The Universal House of Justice, representing the supreme governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, resides in Haifa. The Bahá'í World Centre is also the current destination for Bahá'í pilgrimage.[7]

See alsoEdit

Wikimedia Commons'ta
Holy Land ile ilgili çoklu ortam belgeleri bulunur.



  1. Since the 10th century BCE
    • "The centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism is so strong that even secular Jews express their devotion and attachment to the city and cannot conceive of a modern State of Israel without it... For Jews Jerusalem is sacred simply because it exists." Leslie J. Hoppe. The Holy City: Jerusalem in the theology of the Old Testament, Liturgical Press, 2000, p. 6. ISBN 0814650813
    • "For Jews the city has been the pre-eminent focus of their spiritual, cultural, and national life throughout three millennia." Yossi Feintuch, U.S. Policy on Jerusalem, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1987, p. 1. ISBN 0313257000
  2. The Land of Israel: National Home Or Land of Destiny, By Eliezer Schweid, Translated by Deborah Greniman, Published 1985 Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, ISBN 0838632343, p.56.
  3. John Goldingay, Theological Diversity and the Authority of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), p. 68.
  4. Sean Martin, The Knights Templar: The History & Myths of the Legendary Military Order, 2005. ISBN 1-56025-645-1
  5. Ali (1991), p.934
  6. {{{başlık}}}.
  7. 7,0 7,1 7,2 Smith, Peter (2000). "Bahá'í World Centre". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. 71–72. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
ang:Hālige Land

ar:أراضي مقدسة br:Douar Santel (Palestina) cs:Svatá země da:Det hellige land de:Heiliges Land el:Άγιοι Τόποι es:Tierra Santa eo:Sankta Lando eu:Lur Santua fr:Terre Sainte ko:성지 hr:Sveta Zemlja id:Tanah Suci it:Terra santa hu:Szentföld mk:Света земја nl:Heilige Land ja:聖地 no:Det Hellige Land nn:Det heilage landet pl:Ziemia Święta pt:Terra Santa ro:Țara Sfântă ru:Святая земля scn:Terra Santa sk:Svätá zem sl:Sveta dežela sr:Света Земља sh:Sveta Zemlja fi:Pyhä Maa sv:Det heliga landet th:ดินแดนศักดิ์สิทธิ์ tr:Kutsal Topraklar zh:聖地

All Empires history community sitesinde Turcopoles ve gagauzEdit

  • Who were they? (Tribes or clans)
  • were did they live? (countries)
  • wich monarchies did they serve or were they just mercinaries?
  • When did they serve?(time)
  • were there any other Turcopolis other than the gagauz

any info is welcome

If you mean Turcopoles, they were light cavalry/skirmishing force which is AFAIK mentioned both in service of Christian and Muslim armies during Crusading era in the Near East. Their origin was probably mixed

I rather be a nomadic barbarian than a sedentary savage

I thought Turcopoles strictly refered to Turks who fought for christians & mostly were christian themselfs

While undoubtly, at least initially, the largest ethnic component was Turkic, often they became inhabitants of some non-Turkic land and eventually got assimilated.

Turcopoles-a good article covering the issue (and a very good blog, mainly on ottoman history).

Turcopoles first mention and recruitment took place in the Byzantine army of 12th century (Komnenean era ) as Turkopouloi.

They were actually light skirmishing fighters of mixed parentage (Greek-Turkish) and mostly christians.

In fact their name means sons of Turks in Greek (ending -opoulos/-oi like in many modern greek surnames-also medieval ones (etc .Fragopoulos ,officer of Constantine Paleologos )

Such units of mixed origin in the byzantine army were also the Gasmouloi .These had mixed Greek/Latin(=western European(mainly French/Italian)) parentage.
They served as marines or servants in the navy.

When the Crusaders arrived in Holy Land they also employed turcopoles regardless of their religion (the Muslim ones, when captured, were imediately executed as traitors).

'There's still much controversy about their offensive equipment, some saying that they were light horse archers, some saying that they used javelins instead. The Teutonic order also had "turcopolen ", although by this time the name reflected more their equipment and tactics than their origin (just like the French Zouaves , at first of Algerian origin, later made exclusively of metropolitan French - the Algerians were recruited as "'Turks "! - or the American Zouaves who were Anglo-Saxons ).

In my research I have found the Turkopoles were not the same as the Byzantine Turkopouloui . Nor did the Turkopoles have any relations to the Turkoman .

I use to think Turkopoles came from a specific ethnic group and were muslims. This is not the case. Turkopoles came from many different areas, the Levant , Byzantium , Anatolia , and Europe . This is supported by an incident that happened during the 3rd crusade .

2 Turkopoles and a Bedouin were sent to reconnoiter a caravan. The 3 were approached by those guarding/escorting the caravan. Sources state only the Bedouin was to do the talking and the other two were to remain silent. Had the Turkopoles spoke they would have been compromised. What wasn't clear was whether or not the turkopoles spoke Arabic or not. It does state they were dressed in Arab fashion. It is clear however, that some Turkopoles did speak Arabic or Turkish. During a siege (I forget which one, a Templar castle) the Mamlukes encouraged the Turkopoles to give up their loyalty to the Franks. Many did so and climbed over the walls. To prevent any further "desertions" the Templars enforced strict disciplinary actions against the Turkopoles.

The role of the Turkopoles within the Latin armiesEdit

The role of the Turkopoles within the Latin armies was relegated to scouting, raiding, ambushes, skirmishing in small engagements, and during large battles they were used (as lightly armed shock cavalry) to augment the knights during the charge. They did not deploy in front of the army and fight in the Turkoman fashion.

Echelon and TurkopolesEdit

In many different sources the charge of the Frankish cavalry is described as "echelon". Due to the lack of numbers there is no way the knights could have charged in echelon. However, if they are backed up by sergeants and Turkopoles then the echelon is possible.

It does appear the bow was the primary weapon of the Turkopoles and they did carry a sword & shield. Usamah ibn Munqidh describes them as the archers of the Franks.

What he didn't state was weather or not they were equivelent to the Turkomen.

In a paper written by Yuval Harai (The Military Role of the Frankish Turkopoles; A Reassessment), they found the Turkopoles could make up as much as 50% of the mounted forces in the Frankish army. Turkopoles were an important aspect of the Frankish army. The article can be obtained through BYU. That's a very relevant info you posted here.

Can you tell me exactly what does BYU means? I would like to read that article first hand...

Brigham Young University. Located in Provo, Utah, U.S.

Mavi boncukEdit

The Marshal of the Order was the Templar in charge of war and anything that was related to it. In this sense the Marshal could be viewed as the second most important member of the Order after the Grand Master. His personal retinue was comprised of two squires, one turcoman, one turcopole and one sergeant. He also had four horses at his command.Turcoman one can guess, but, who was the turcopole?

During the Crusades, turcopoles', turcoples, or turcopoliers (Greek: "sons of Turks") were mounted archers.

The crusaders first came across Turcopoles in the Byzantine army during the First Crusade. They were children of mixed Greek and Turkish parentage, and were at least nominally Christian although they may have been practising Muslims. Some Turcopole units accompanied the First Crusade and then seem to have formed the first Turcopole units in the crusader states.

In the crusader states they were not necessarily Turks or mixed-race soldiers, but many probably were recruited from Christianized Seljuqs , or perhaps from the Eastern Orthodox Christians under crusader rule. In the Holy Land , Turcopoles were more lightly-armoured than knights and were armed with lances and bows to help combat the more mobile Muslim forces. They served as light cavalry: skirmishers, scouts, and mounted archers, and sometimes rode as a second line in a charge, to back up the knights and sergeants. They had lighter, faster horses than the knights or sergeants, and they wore much lighter armour, usually only a quilted aketon and a conical steel helmet. There were Turcopoles in the secular armies but they were also often found in the ranks of the military orders, where they were more likely to be mounted Frankish sergeants. In the military orders, however, they were of a lower status than the sergeants, and were subject to various restrictions, including eating at a separate table from the mounted soldiers.

The Mamluks considered Turcopoles to be traitors and apostates: their policy was to kill all those whom they captured. The Turcopoles who survived the Fall of Acre followed the military orders out of the Holy Land and were established on Cyprus with the Knights Templar and Rhodes and Malta with the Knights Hospitaller. The Teutonic Order also called its own native light cavalry the "Turkopolen".

[1] Crusader States : Former territories on the Palestine coast taken by the Christian army during the first of the Crusades. The states were established as the kingdom of Jerusalem (1099 – 1187), the principality of Antioch (1098 – 1268), the county of Edessa (1098 – 1144), and the county of Tripoli (1109 – 1289). Threats to the states led the pope to call for future crusades.

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