What is so unique about Akko?
Have you heard of the City of Akko (Acre)? Would you like to experience time travel by walking through different layers of history? If so, I invite you to visit this charming town in northern Israel, right on the Mediterranean Sea.
For those who have time, I suggest spending two days in the area to soak up the rich history, culture and cuisine that Akko has to offer. For help with booking accommodation in the area, feel free to contact us. You can collect tickets to the following sights at the Visitors Center.
The Hospitaller Fortress - The Knights Hall
A very impressive fortress built in the 12th Century by the Crusaders. Here you will discover the well preserved underground remains of different rooms and streets. This site is the reason why the Old City of Akko is part of the UNESCO heritage. The streets of today's city are built right above the streets of the 12th century. You can walk upon both!
Note: Without a tour guide, I recommend using the audio-guide.
The Port and the Market
Walk through the alleys of the market and take in the scent of spices, hummus, fish and Arab desserts. Arrive at the port once known as "The Gateway to the West", one of the most important ports in Israel since the 3rd Century BC. There you can enjoy a boat ride, a horse carriage tour, or admire the magnificent view while eating ice cream. If you see a tall Clock Tower, this is the Khan Al-Umdan. It is a caravansary from the 18th century, where merchants unloaded their goods and rested.
Note: The caravansary can only be seen from outside as it is currently under renovation.
The Ohr Torah Synagogue
It is outside of the Old City, but close by and worth the visit. This Tunisian Djerba Synagogue is a real piece of art,
built in 1955. The whole building is covered in natural stones from all over the country. The walls, floor, and ceiling are mosaics that portray the story of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.
Note: Visits must be coordinated in advance.
MORE RECOMMENDED SITES
The El-Jazzar Mosque - the White Mosque
This is the second largest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem. A hair of Prophet Muhammad's beard lies in a precious box inside the mosque. Nearby is the tomb of Ahmad El-Jazzar, who was the Acre-based Ottoman governor in the 19th century.
Note: Check visiting hours. The mosque is closed to visitors on Fridays.
The Turkish Bathhouse
Much like our modern 'Spa day,' is the 'Hammam' or Turkish Bathhouse which tells us about the culture of the Ottoman empire. Inside you can enjoy a sound and light show that explains more about the Bathhouse culture, daily life and historical events of this period.
The Templar Tunnel
The Tunnel connects the Port to the Templar Fortress and its ruins can be seen under the sea today. The crusaders used this tunnel to transfer goods without paying taxes. It was discovered by a plumber in 1994 when a woman living above the tunnel complained about clogged sewage.
Note: You can enter and exit from the same side of the tunnel or exit from the other side.
The Underground Prisoners Museum
The fort was first built as a government prison by Dahar el-Omar, the Governor of The Galilee in the 18th Century. During the British Mandate, it became the main prison in Northern Israel. Among the prisoners were hundreds of Jews from underground organizations. In 1947, the Jewish rebels tried to escape and when digging a hole, they discovered the Knights Hall!
Note: With films and audio guides, the visit can take about 2.5 hours.
I also recommend visiting the Okashi Art Museum, the Ramhal Synagogue, and the Treasures in the Walls Museum. Have fun! For More tips about traveling in Israel, feel free to check out our blog or contact us directly.
About the writer, Judith Goldcher
My name is Judith and I moved from France to Israel. As I love traveling, meeting new people, learning languages and act on stage, I found the job that put all this together and became a tour guide! I now live in Jerusalem and give tours all over the country in French, English, Hebrew and Mandarin Chinese. Instagram: Jude.gold.9 Facebook: Gold Tours