For the first time in 20 years, the History department returned to Israel during the Half Term with a small group of Sixth Formers to follow in the footsteps of the Crusaders, a subject now studied as a strong component in many of the Pre-U History courses.
Our first short walk through Jaffa set the tone for the trip – we heard references to Napoleon and Nelson, Aphrodite and the Kraken, the foundations of Christianity and the murky past of British Palestine, all in sight of the world’s largest store of Bauhaus architecture at Tel Aviv. Later that same day, we heading north up the coast where we were able to put the Holy Land in its broadest historical context, from Roman times at Herod’s amazing city of Caesarea, through the Crusades themselves, and into the more modern world of Israel at Akko.
From the battlefields of the Golan Heights and the Horns of Hattin, to the places of worship of three faiths centred around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, history and faith oozed from every location we went to. We were also fortunate to see so many different facets of the modern Middle East, largely through the rare knowledge and talent of our guide, Eli, who we hope to welcome to Oundle at some point in the future.