Khirbat Jiddin

Coordinates: 32°59′40″N 35°13′19″E / 32.99444°N 35.22194°E / 32.99444; 35.22194
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Khirbat Jiddin
خربة جدّين
Khirbat Jiddin mosque
Khirbat Jiddin mosque
1870s map
1940s map
modern map
1940s with modern overlay map
A series of historical maps of the area around Khirbat Jiddin (click the buttons)
Khirbat Jiddin is located in Mandatory Palestine
Khirbat Jiddin
Khirbat Jiddin
Location within Mandatory Palestine
Coordinates: 32°59′40″N 35°13′19″E / 32.99444°N 35.22194°E / 32.99444; 35.22194
Palestine grid171/266
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulation11 July 1948 (Sheva' Brigade as part of Operation Dekel)
 • Total1,500[1]
Cause(s) of depopulationMilitary assault by Yishuv forces
Current LocalitiesYehiam,[2] Kiryat, and Ga'aton[2][3]

Khirbat Jiddin (Arabic: خربة جدين), known in the Kingdom of Jerusalem as Judin, was an Ottoman fortress in the western Upper Galilee, originally built by the Teutonic Order after 1220 as a crusader castle, 16 km northeast of the city of Acre, which at the time was the capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The castle was destroyed by the Mamluk sultan Baibars sometime between 1268-1271 and lay in ruins until being rebuilt and expanded by the Arab ruler Zahir al-Umar as Qal'at Jiddin (Arabic: قلعة جدين, lit.'castle of Jiddin') in the 1760s, only to be destroyed again around 1775 by Jazzar Pasha.[5][6] The ruined fortress, known as Khirbat Jiddin, was later inhabited by the al-Suwaytat Bedouin tribe.[7]

According to a 1945 census, there were 1500 Muslims living in the area. Khirbat Jiddin land totaled 7,587 dunums, of which however all but 34 were officially listed as non-cultivable; 4,238 were owned by Arabs and 3,349 dunums owned by Jews.[7] Kibbutz Yehiam was established in the area in 1946.[8]

Today the remains of the castle are the central part of Yehi'am Fortress National Park.


Byzantine period[edit]

The site was inhabited in the Byzantine period.[6]

Crusader period[edit]

The Crusaders called the place Judin or Judyn. A Crusader castle was built there some time after May 1220, when the Teutonic Order acquired the nearby village of Shifaya.[9][10] The village fell to Sultan Baibars between 1268 and 1271. In 1283, Burchard of Mount Sion described a destroyed castle on the site that had belonged to the Teutonic Order.[10][11]

Marino Sanuto, in 1322, still referred to it as a castle belonging to the Teutonic Knights.[12]

The castle was built around two towers with an outer enclosure wall.[13]

Ottoman period[edit]

The fortress as it now exists was built in the eighteenth century by Zahir al-Umar, the Bedouin ruler who became Ottoman governor of the Galilee.[14][15] It was Zahir al-Umar who had the enclosure walls and towers constructed and the moat hewn out of the bedrock, together with an angled entrance gatehouse, vaulted in a manner faithful to the Crusader style.[16] The vaulted hall on the lower level of the castle was the basement of a palatial residence that included a small mosque and a bathhouse.[citation needed] The hall's roof rested on a series of square pillars on the hillside. The walls featured well shafts and gun-slits. The mosque was a small square building originally roofed with four cross-vaults resting on a central pillar. The bathhouse was a small building supplied with water from the wells below.[13]

An Italian, Giovanni Mariti, who visited "Geddin" in the 1760s, says he was given a generous reception by the local sheik who guarded the place for Daher.[17] Jezzar Pasha destroyed the fortress around 1775.[6]

A map by Pierre Jacotin from Napoleon's invasion of 1799 showed the place, named as Chateau de Geddin.[18]

French explorer Victor Guérin visited in 1875, and described it:

"'Two great square towers, deprived of their upper stage, are still there, partly upright, and contain several chambers now in very bad condition. The staircases which lead to them have been deprived of part of their steps to make access more difficult. Underneath are magazines and cellars, the vaults of which rest on several ranges of arcades. Cisterns hollowed in the rock are found beneath a paved court. Below and near the castle a second inclosure, flanked by semicircular towers, contains within it the remains of numerous demolished houses and cisterns.'"[19]

When Kitchener inspected the place in 1877, he found it "quite unoccupied, though there are several chambers and vaults that could serve as habitations."[20][21]

British Mandate[edit]

The ruins were later inhabited by Bedouin of the al-Suwaytat tribe whose primary occupation was animal husbandry. In the 1945 statistics, they also cultivated barley and tobacco on 22 dunums of land.[2][22] At the same time, Jews cultivated the remaining 32 dunums officially listed as cultivable.[22]

The land ownership of the village in 1945, in dunams:[1][23]

Owner Dunams
Arab 4,238
Jewish 3,349
Public -
Total 7,587

Types of land use in dunams in the village in 1945:[1][23][24]

Land Usage Arab Jewish
Cereal[25] 22 32
Non-cultivable 4,216 3,317

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

Khirbat Jiddin was in the territory envisaged as an Arab state in the 1947 UN Partition Plan. On July 11, 1948, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, it was captured by Israel's Sheva' Brigade as part of Operation Dekel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 4
  2. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 19
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxi, settlement #30
  4. ^ | unit_pref = dunam | area_total_dunam = 7,587Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 40
  5. ^ Yeruham National Park, English version, 18/8/2013.
  6. ^ a b c Pringle et al., 1994.
  7. ^ a b "Jiddin, Khirbat". Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  8. ^ About Kibbutz Yehiam
  9. ^ Pringle, 1997, pp. 80 - 82
  10. ^ a b Pringle, 1998, p. 162
  11. ^ Laurent, 1864, p. 34
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 154
  13. ^ a b Petersen, 2001, p. 251
  14. ^ Cohen, 1973, p 124. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 19
  15. ^ Benvenisti, 2000, p. 302: 'The arbitrary designation of any especially massive structure as "Crusader" verges on the absurd in the case of Jidin Castle (on Kibbutz Yehiam), which was built by Sheikh Dahr al-'Omar al-Zaidani . Within this large fortress are remnants of a small Crusader fort; nevertheless the Israelis refer to Yehiam Castle (as Dahr al-'Omar's fortress is called today) as "a Crusader castle that was destroyed at the time of the Muslim conquest and partially reconstructed by Dahr al-'Omar."
  16. ^ Daniel Jacobs, Shirley Eber, Francesca Silvani, Israel and the Palestinian Territories,Rough Guides, 1998 p.235.
  17. ^ Mariti, 1792, p. 333, also cited in Petersen, 2001, p. 251
  18. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 160 Archived 2019-12-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 24 -26, as translated by Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, pp. 185-186
  20. ^ Kitchener, 1877, p. 178
  21. ^ Kitchener, 1878, p. 137
  22. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81
  23. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 40
  24. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 131
  25. ^ Note: Khalidi, 1992, p. 19 say that was tobacco.


External links[edit]