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Jisr Jindas, Arabic for "Jindas Bridge",[1] also known as Baybars Bridge, was built in 1273 C.E. It crosses a small wadi, known in Hebrew as the Ayalon River, on the old road leading south to Lod and Ramla.[2] The bridge is named after the village of Jindas, which once stood east of the bridge and may have been the Crusader-period "casal of Gendas" mentioned in a Latin charter dated 1129 CE.[3] It is the most famous of the several bridges erected by Sultan Baybars in Palestine, which include the Yibna and the Isdud bridges.[4]

Jisr Jindas
BaibarsBridge20.JPG
Coordinates 31°58′N 34°54′E / 31.97°N 34.9°E / 31.97; 34.9Coordinates: 31°58′N 34°54′E / 31.97°N 34.9°E / 31.97; 34.9
Carries ISR-HW434.png Route 434 (Abba Hillel Silver St.)
Crosses Ayalon River
Locale Lod, Israel
Official name Jisr Jindas
Characteristics
Design Arch
Total length 30 metres
Width 10 metres
History
Opened 1273 CE

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Inscription from 1273 CE
 
Transcription of the inscription by Clermont-Ganneau in 1888

The present structure dates to AH 672/AD 1273, but is believed to be constructed on Roman foundations.[5] It was first studied in modern times by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau, who noted that an Arabic chronicle had referred to the construction by Baybars in AH 672 of two bridges of a significant nature "in the neighbourhood of Ramleh".[6] The second of these two bridges is thought to be the Yibna Bridge.[6]

Clermont-Ganneau concluded that the bridge was built using masonry reclaimed from the Church of Saint George, which had been destroyed in the Crusader-Ayyubid War.[6]

On the west and east faces of the bridge are two nearly identical inscriptions, flanked by two lions (or leopards). The inscription on the east reads as follows:

"Bismallah..., and blessings on their lord Muhammad, his family and his companions. The building of this blessed bridge was ordered by their master, the great Sultan al-Malik al-Zahir Rukn al-Din Baybars, ibn Abd Allah, in time of his son their Lord Sultan al-Malik al-Said Nasir al-Din Baraka Khan, may Allah glorify their victories and grant them His grace. And that, under the direction of the humble servant aspiring to the mercy of Allah. Ala al-Din Ali al-Suwwaq, may Allah grant grace to him and his parents, in the month of Ramadan, the year 671 H. [March–April 1273 C.E.]

Ala al-Din Ali al-Suwwaq was the same official charged with overseeing the construction of the Great Mosque of Lydda three years earlier.[7]

In 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine noted that Jisr Jindas had a representation of two lions and an Arabic text. It further noted that it appeared to be "Saracenic work".[8]

DescriptionEdit

The bridge is over 30 metres (98 ft) long and 10 metres (33 ft) wide, and runs north-south. It consists of three arches and two central piers, with the central arch wider than the two other arches.[2]

Baybars panthers or lionsEdit

In his native Turkic language, Baibars' name means "great panther".[9] Possibly based on that, Baibars used the panther as his heraldic blazon, and placed it on both coins and buildings.[9] On the Bridge of Jindas, the lions/panthers used play with a rat, which may be interpreted to represent Baibars' Crusader enemies.[10]

According to Moshe Sharon, the lions on Jisr Jindas are similar to the ones on the Lions' Gate in Jerusalem, and Qasr al-Basha in Gaza. All represent the same sultan: Baybars. The Gaza lions were created with interlocking lines suggesting leopard spots, however, the felines' outline is similar. Sharon estimates that they all date to approximately 1273 C.E.[11]

Baibars' lions
Baibars' lion on the Bridge of Jindas 
Baibars' lions on Lions' Gate, Jerusalem 
Baibars' lion from Qal'at al-Subeiba, at the foot of Mount Hermon 

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The bridge of Jindas", according to Palmer, 1881, p. 215
  2. ^ a b Petersen, 2001, p.183
  3. ^ Clermont-Ganneau, 1896, vol.2, p. 117, who quotes the Cartulaire général de l'ordre des Hospitaliers, no.84
  4. ^ Petersen, 2008, p.297
  5. ^ O’Connor, 1993
  6. ^ a b c Clermont-Ganneau, 1896, vol.2, pp.110–117
  7. ^ Petersen, 2001, p. 184
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 264–5
  9. ^ a b Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh (2004). The image of an Ottoman city: imperial architecture and urban experience in Aleppo in the 16th and 17th centuries. Brill. p. 198. ISBN 90-04-12454-3. 
  10. ^ Niall Christie (2014). Muslims and Crusaders: Christianity’s Wars in the Middle East, 1095-1382, from the Islamic Sources. Seminar Studies (first ed.). Routledge. p. 121, Plate 8. ISBN 9781138022744. 
  11. ^ Sharon, 2009, p. 58 and pl.6.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit