Ermak Travel Guide

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Location: Northwest Israel








Description of Acre (Akko)

Ancient Akko is situated in the Nortwest Israel. It is one of the most imporatnt urban centers in the Holy Land and in different times played a key role in the history of the region. Ancient Akko is a historic part of the modern Acre that is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Holy Land. Akko or Acre was first settled by Canaanite tribes during Early Bronze Age around 3000 BC. However much of the Old City was constructed by Crusaders and Arabs in the medieval times. Akko was captured by soldiers of the First Crusade in 1099 the same year they captured Jerusalem. It became a chief port city that provided connection between Middle East and Western Europe. After Jerusalem fell Akko became the last European fortress in the region. It was captured by Bahri Mamluks in 1291 despite fanatic resistance by Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller. The city was left in ruins until 16th century when it was captured by the Ottoman Empire. A series of governors rebuilt the city. One of the most famous was Ahmed Pasha el- Jazzar who constructed the main mosque in the city and successfully defended his province against invasion of the French Army under command of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799.

Acre (Akko) Travel Destinations

Akko Crusader City

El- Jazzar Street

Tel. (04) 995 6706

Open: 8:30am- 4pm Sun- Thu, 8:30am- 2pm Fri

Crusaders City was constructed by European engineers in the 12th and 13th centuries. Today medieval street level lies 8 meters (25 feet) below modern streets, but in the 20th century this part of Akko was re- discovered. Archeologists discovered and uncovered medieval streets, buildings, Gothic- arched halls where Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller once dined. The most impressive dining hall belonged to the Order of the Knights Hospitallers. Underground passageways also allows entrance to El- Bosta that in Arabic can be translated as "post- office". In the medieval times it was probably used as a prison for criminals, hostages and other inmates. During Turkish Ottoman period these underground caverns were used as a post office, hence the name. One of the most secretive and mysterious inhabitants of Crusader City of Akko were obviously Knights Templar. Many people still attempt to discover secret rooms and hidden passageways that is said to keep various Christian and Jewish valuables. There have been numerous theories that point to Akko as the final resting place of Chalice of Grail, Ark of the Covenant and many others.



Mosque of El- Jazzar

El- Jazzar Str.

Tel. (04) 991 3039

Open: daily

Mosque of El- Jazzar was constructed in the second half of the 18th century during reign of Ahmed Pasha El- Jazzar ("the Butcher"). He continued reconstruction project of Acre after it was reduced to ruins during the siege of 1291 when Crusaders were finally kicked out of Holy Land. Many of the stones, columns and decorations were taken from older Roman and Crusaders ruins, incorporating them in new buildings thus reducing the cost. Inside the Mosque of El- Jazzar you can see intricate sarcophagi of El- Jazzar and his son. Interestingly current Muslim house of prayer stands on top of Crusader's Christian church. It is accessed from the inner courtyard cloister. Turkish didn't destroy medieval structure and instead turned it into a water collecting cistern. During wet months of the year water trickles inside where it can be used through out dry months of the year.

Municipal Museum of Acre (Akko)

El- Jazzar Street

Tel. (04) 995 1088

Open: daily, Fridays only in the morning

Municipal Museum is situated in former Turkish baths that were constructed in 1780's during rule of governor Ahmed Pasha El- Jazzar. Hence Arabs of Akko commonly refer to this site as Hammam el- Pasha or "Baths of the Governor". It is a beautiful building that was used by men of the city as a place for hygiene and socialization. Here they met to talk, discuss and participate in various disputes. El- Jazzar invested large sums of money to make his bath house as one of the most beautiful not only in Akko, but also the whole region. Its floor was covered by marble of various colors while walls were covered by intricate decorations. Turkish bathhouse was used until 1940's.

Khan el- Umdan

Khan el- Umdan also known as Caravanserai of Pillars or Inn of the Columns is a beautiful caravanserai or an inn for visitors of Acre. It is the largest such structure in Israel and one of the largest in the region. Khan el- Umdan was constructed in 1784 by Turkish governor El- Jazzar on a site of Royal Customs house of the medieval Kingdom of Jerusalem. Its most distinguished feature is a tall clock tower that is visible from most of part of the Old City of Acre.

Akko Citadel

Ha- Hahannah Street

Tel. (04) 995 6707

Open: Sun- Fri, Fridays: mornings only

Akko Citadel was built in the 18th century by the Ottoman Turks on older ruins of medieval Crusader's buildings. During the British Mandate in the early 20th century rooms of the Citadel were used as a prison for Jewish political activists and terrorists. Many were subsequently executed in the Gallows Room. Some claim to experience paranormal activity in this area of the Akko Citadel. If you want to learn more about this page of history you should visit the Museum of Underground Prisoners.







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