Jerusalem is a city located in the hills of the Judean Mountains, in between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea.
The city was founded sometime in the 19th century BCE. After being conquered several times, it was finally possessed by King David. David's successor, Solomon, built a temple which guarded the Ark of the Covenant.
High Middle Ages
In the early 12th century, the Templar Bernard de Clairvaux sent nine trusted men to find Solomon's Temple beneath Jerusalem. When these men returned nine years later, he reinvented the Order into a knightly organization. This organization became known as the Knights Templar, allowing the Templars to become public for the first time since their Order's founding.
Jerusalem was the largest city in the Holy Land during the 12th century and housed exquisite mosques and cathedrals, which denoted the contrast of the cultures present. The city was under the control of Sultan Saladin and his Saracen army during the Third Crusade, while the Crusaders under King Richard I were vying heavily to take control of the holy city.
By the time of the Third Crusade, the city secretly housed both Templars and Assassins. In 1191, a group of Templars led by their Grand Master Robert de Sable and a team of Assassins composed of Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad and the brothers Malik and Kadar Al-Sayf infiltrated Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, to obtain an "Apple of Eden" – an artifact that was hidden deep inside the temple – atop the Ark of the Covenant.
When both factions met, it resulted in a conflict that led to the death of Kadar and the severe wounding of Malik's arm, though Malik was successfully able to bring the Apple of Eden back to the headquarters of the Levantine Assassins in Masyaf.
Throughout the rest of the year, in order to redeem his failure due to his arrogance and disregard for the Assassins' Creed, Altaïr assassinated several clandestine Templars who worked inside Jerusalem. He did so with the help of Malik Al-Sayf, who had become the Rafiq of the city's Assassin bureau.
Among these Templars was Talal, a slave trader, and Majd Addin, the regent of Jerusalem in Saladin's absence. Ultimately, Altaïr also attempted to take the life of Robert de Sable during Majd Addin's funeral; however, he failed due to Robert having taken precautions and disguising his fellow Templar Maria Thorpe as himself to act as a decoy.
When Altaïr, who by 1257 had become the Mentor of the Levantine Assassins, dispersed the Assassin Order from Masyaf, they shifted their primary presence in the Levant to Jerusalem, working in secret.
By the time that the Renaissance had begun spreading throughout Europe, the Mamluks ruled over Jerusalem. Unlike the Saracens, the Mamluks directly opposed the Assassins and attempted to erase their presence from within the city.
In 1511, the Mamluks arrested the Assassins' leader Mujir in order to intimidate them, but their attempt failed when he was rescued by a group of Ottoman Assassins sent from Constantinople by Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Mentor of the Italian Brotherhood. With help from the Ottoman Assassins, Jerusalem eventually came under strong Assassin control and flourished due to it.
The simulation depicted the Dome of the Rock and its surrounding area, which, aside from the occasional building, largely consisted of tents and market stalls that sold various goods and produce. Decorative archways were a common sight.
Jerusalem, like most of the simulated locations in the first and second stage, had two aesthetic variations. As such, it could be utilized during the day or at dusk.
The Poor District of Jerusalem was the smallest of the city, with a large amount of alleyways and low buildings. Guards were fairly spread across the area, while the traffic moving through the streets was relatively clear.
The main features of the district included a mosque, a southernmost church and a synagogue. These were all places that were generally alive with activity and provided a good source for information, which was valuable for Altaïr during his assassination tasks.
It was in this district that Altaïr tracked his target, Majd Addin, to an execution that he was performing in its eastern side. This section contained a platform that was set against the rocky outcrop and walls of the Dome of the Rock, along with several high buildings that overlooked the area.
The Middle District was a medium-sized district that was fairly spaced out with guards and civilians. The most significant landmarks in the district included the hospital and guard tower, situated near to the edge of the district, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, located in the bottom half of the district.
Founded around 326 CE by Queen Helena, the church was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times during the Crusaders' occupation of Jerusalem in the 12th century. This district was also were the funeral of Majd Addin was held, in an area just behind the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Here, Altaïr attempted the eliminate the Grand Master of the Templar Order, Robert de Sable, but instead discovered he had been replaced by Maria Thorpe as a decoy.
The Rich District was easily the largest of the districts, dominating the city. Given its size, guards and civilians populated much of the area. The buildings were relatively high, with a number of climbable viewpoints.
Several notable landmarks included the district's mosque, the markets that lined the border between the Jewish and Muslim quarters of the district, and Saint Anne's Church. However, the most prominent landmark in the district – and probably the entire city – was the Dome of the Rock.
Completed in 691 CE, the Dome of the Rock was situated atop the Temple Mount, and was the one of the holiest sites in the Islamic faith. Underneath the Temple Mount was the ancient temple of King Solomon, where the Ark of the Covenant was located, along with the Apple of Eden recovered by Altaïr and the brothers Malik and Kadar Al-Sayf.