In the footsteps of the crusaders – Balázs Major’s lecture

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We will follow the crusaders, look for mystic Koran interpretations and discuss the issues of Islamic ethics in the fall season of NSZL’s cultural history lecture series.
Edited by László Tüske, Director-General of NSZL, Arabist, professor of Pázmány Péter Catholic University, the lecture series presenting various branches and results of Hungarian research into the East was launched last year.

Main aim of the lectures, discussions and book presentations, held once in a month and starting at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, is to provide the general public with state-of-the-art knowledge on issues covering various fields and periods, and on the latest research results by lectures delivered by internationally renowned Hungarian researchers.

Our November guest will be Arabist, archaeologist and historian Balázs Major, who will deliver a lecture entitled In the footsteps of the crusaders. “Crusades were the largest international enterprise of Europe in the Middle Ages, which had involved almost every area, and had had an impact on the lives of millions for centuries, leaving behind a heritage until the present day. After the first crusade, Europeans established four Latin states in the Middle East, the special world of which has been reflected in the remains left by them. The lecture is about their research and the picture that can be reconstructed from these remains.”

The next lecture of the series entitled Orientalists in NSZL will begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday November 8, 2017.


Hungarian archeologists in Syria
Hungarian archeologists worked at the Damascus World Heritage Site on several occasions and they still provide help there. They are members of the only international archaeology mission in Syria who have not left the country and their colleagues out there. Previously, some 140 research teams arrived there from all over the world. Balázs Major, archeologist, Arabist, Head of the Department of Archeology at Pázmány Péter Catholic University started archeological research in Syria over a decade before the civil war broke out in 2011, and he has kept traveling there ever since. Before the war, the Hungarian mission included seventy experts and university students, but the number of staff was reduced after the outbreak of the war.

The main site for Hungarian explorations is Margat, a castle near Baniyas on the Mediterranean coast, Syria, which was a Crusader fortress and one of the major strongholds of the Knights Hospitaller. The settlement and its surroundings, Tartus and Latakia Governorates have been under government control since the outbreak of the civil war. Initially there were shootings there too, but since then, these places have avoided fights. Hungarians are present not only in one of the major medieval castles of the Middle East. Balázs Major and his team also help with the exploration of a former Crusader fortress, the world-famous Crac des Chevaliers, abandoned by European researchers and recaptured last year by government forces, and they also work on the citadel of front city Damascus.

September 27, 2015. Source:

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