Alquerque ~ Qirkat! The Ancient and Mysterious Game of Conquest.
This is the ancient game of Alquerque, also known as Qirkat, (in Arabic) and it has a mysterious and unknown past. Most surviving examples are from the medieval period. The oldest building that has Alquerque carved into its stone floor is the Church of the Condemnation in Jerusalem, Israel. The stones on which it is carved are from the 2nd century CE and were originally used by the Romans as street pavement, and then later incorporated into the church’s floor. However, the date of the carving itself is not clear. According to the sign in the Church of the Condemnation itself the carving dates to the Roman period, the same as the stones. However, most historians think that the carving was really made during the medieval period by a crusader from Europe, more specifically from Spain or France, where most believe this game originated.
The rules for Alquerque were preserved for us in a medieval book commissioned by the king of Castile, Galicia and León, Alfonso X, in Toledo, Spain, in 1283, called Libro De Los Juegos, the Book of Games. Due to its similarity with checkers or draughts and Fanorona from Madagaskar, it is considered to be a parent of all of those games.
The board comes as shown, done in beautiful natural wood and gold finish, complete with 24 glass playing pawns and rules. The board measures just shy of 11" inches square.