Crusader Cardo


The Cardo was a north–south–oriented street in Roman cities, military camps, and colonies. It was an integral component of city planning, lined with shops and vendors, and served as a hub of economic life. The main cardo was called ‘Cardo Maximus’. Most Roman cities additionally contained a Decumanus Maximus, an east-west street that served as a secondary main street. Generally, the Cardo Maximus served as the primary road. However, due to varying geography, Decumanus was sometimes considered the main street, while the Cardo was considered secondary. The Forum was normally located at the intersection of the Decumanus and the Cardo. The Cardo was the “hinge” or axis of the city, derived from the same root as cardinal. The main street of Crusader Jerusalem went from Nabelus gate (St. Stephan) to Zion gate, to the Holy Seplecure area. Here, they divided the Cardo into three different markets: the covered market, the spice market, and the bad cooking market. This occurred under the reign of Queen Melisinda, who was the current Queen of Jerusalem.