The Old Town of Akko 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 is with the greatest history and art in the Middle East

A historic city

Akko is 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 next to Hifa Bay, a natural port that served as a link for business.

Dominated by several empires

Akko Harbor

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

In the year 332 a. C. was under the dominion of Alexander the Great. However, he later became part of the Byzantine Empire, going on 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 capital of the Christian kingdom of Jerusalem during the Middle Ages.

The charm of the Old Town of Akko

Akko Citadel

Akko tells us about her beautiful citadel. This fortification of Ottoman origin served to defend the northern part of the territory. For that 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. Here wonderful remains of the time in which it was under the dominance of the Crusaders are preserved.

In addition to that, In the Old Town of Akko we can visit mosques, Turkish baths, churches, prisons, museums, bazaars ... Spectacular corners that show us the historical and heritage wealth of this city.

The Hospital Fortress

Hall of the Columns of the fortress - Matthias Gutjahr /

This fortress is the most important building in the entire Old Town of Akko, along with the Jazzar mosque. It was built by the Knights Hospitallers between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The part of the Ottoman fortress is intact.

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

The Enchanted Garden and the Templar Tunnel

Templar Tunnel - Denis Jarvis /

The garden is located at the entrance to the courtyard of the Hospital Fortress. 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 in 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 true escape route through the subsoil of the city.

Caravasar Khan al-Umdan

Caravasar - Christophe Debelmas /

A caravan 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 those that has reached our days in a better state of preservation is this.

The construction is built around a porticoed patio. In the lower part, goods and animals were left, while the upper floor was destined for accommodation.

Al Jazzar Mosque

It is the largest and prettiest 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, rose on the remains of the old cathedral.

As you see, The Old Town of Akko is a place full of history and from wonderful corners. Willing to discover it?

Video: Akko - Crusader City Comes Alive (October 2019).