About Ayn Jalut Battlefield
The Ayn Jalut Battlefield (or Ain Jalut) is the approximate site of the battle of the same name, in southeastern Galilee near the Spring of Harod. The Battle of Ayn Jalut, fought on 3 September 1260, is understood as a pivotal moment in Mongol history.
It was at the Ayn Jalut Battlefield that the Bahri Mamluks of Egypt defeated the Mongol Empire and prevented them from further expanding at the time (the Mongols would go on to capture Damascus and Gaza). Today, what remains is simply a set of fields with nothing to mark the battle site.
Ayn Jalut Battlefield history
Expanding further westward, the Mongol Empire armies of Hulagu Khan captured and sacked Baghdad in 1258 and shortly after, the Auuybid’s capital Damascus. Hulahu demanded that Islamic ruler Qutuz of Egypt surrender, but instead he killed the envoys and put their heads on the Bab Zuweila gate of Cairo. Hulagu returned to Mongolia with most of his army, leaving behind 10,000 troops under General Kitbuqa.
Hearing the Mongols had departed Qutuz advanced quickly with his warrior-enslaved Mamluk army from Cairo to Palestine. It was at the Spring of Harod that his forces met with Kitbuga, and using hit and run tactics combined with feigned retreat and impressive flanking manoeuvres, the Mamluks pushed the Mongols back towards Bisan.
After a final attack, Kitbuqa was killed and the Mongols defeated – prevented for the first time from expanding their influence. This was also the first time a Mongol army did not return to avenge the defeat.
Ayn Jalut Battlefield today
Today, the site of the Ayn Jalut Battlefield is situated within Ma’ayan Harod National Park and a kabbutz (housing compound) in modern Israel. As there are no surviving detailed descriptions of the battle, it is in fact difficult to place the exact spot of the battlefield and therefore to preserve it.
Make sure to take plenty of water and wear comfortable footwear, as Israel is very hot between April and November, and the ground is uneven with the path often covered in weeds and hard to find. The Spring of Harod is also nearby to visit.
Getting to Ayn Jalut Battlefield
You can reach Ayn Jalut Battlefield via the 71 road, a 35 minute drive from Nazareth. There is parking within Gid’ona. For public transport, the 67 bus stops at Gid’ona and runs every 2 hours on the hour.
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An country with a diverse religious, cultural, and political history, Israel is home to a number of striking sites which are essential for any visitor wanting to understand the rich history of the area. Here's our pick of 10 which you shouldn't miss.