Europe

Akko’s Old City and its Ottoman architecture

Israel is a great tourist destination. Its incredible landscapes, as well as its history, culture and monuments are a great attraction. There are many places in the country that are well worth a visit, and Akko is a city that will not leave you indifferent. One of the cities with the greatest history and art in the Middle East

a historic city

Akko is in the north of Israel. Specifically, it is located just over 20 kilometers from Haifa, a city bathed by the Mediterranean that, over time, became a key point for trade.

Also known as Arce or San Juan de Arce during the Third Crusade, Akko is located by Hifa Baya natural port that served as a nexus for business.

Dominated by several empires

Akko is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world. Currently, it is thought that it was founded in the year 1500 BC And part of its character is due to the fact that, throughout the centuries, it was under the domination of different empires and civilizations.

In the year 332 a. C. was under the rule of Alexander the Great. However, later it became part of the Byzantine Empire, passing in 638 BC to the Muslim Empire. But Akko would also be dominated by Christians and Ottomans in the following centuries.

Such became its importance that the city would be the capital of the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem during the Middle Ages.

The charm of the Old City of Akko

Its beautiful citadel tells us about the history of Akko. This fortification of Ottoman origin served to defend the northern part of the territory. For this reason, it is the perfect place to get closer to the history and culture of the country.

But the Old City of Akko is much more, as evidenced by the fact that It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wonderful remains of the time when it was under the rule of the Crusaders are preserved here.

In addition to that, in the Old City of Akko we can visit mosques, Turkish baths, churchesprisons, museums, bazaars… Spectacular corners that show us the rich history and heritage of this city.

The Hospitaller Fortress

This fortress is the most important building in the entire Old City of Akko, along with the Jazzar Mosque. It was built by the Hospitaller Knights between the 12th and 13th centuries. The part of the Ottoman fortress is intact.

Inside the enclosure we find different rooms, spread over three floors. There we can observe Ottoman architecture in all its splendor. The Room of the Knights and the Room of the Columns are the most outstanding.

The Enchanted Garden and the Templar Tunnel

The garden is located at the entrance to the courtyard of the Fortaleza Hospitalaria. It is an open space where we can enjoy the vegetation and tranquility of the place. This garden is important for the history of the city, since it is a replica of the one that existed on the same land at the time of the Crusades.

For its part, the tunnel linked the citadel with the port of Akko. A 350-meter tunnel that was a real escape route through the city’s subsoil.

Caravanserai Khan al-Umdan

A caravanserai was a building where caravans could stop so that people and animals could rest and regain strength. In Akko there were several, but one of the ones that has survived to this day in a better state of conservation is this one.

The construction is articulated around a porticoed patio. Merchandise and animals were left in the lower part, while the upper floor was used for accommodation.

Al Jazzar Mosque

It is the largest and most beautiful in the city. Built at the end of the 18th century, it is also the largest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem. An Ottoman-style mosque that apparently was built on the remains of the old cathedral.

As you see, Akko’s Old City is a place steeped in history and wonderful corners. Ready to discover it?

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