Akko, an evocative old town encircled by impressive defenses, is steeped in the history of the Crusaders throughout the Middle Ages.
Due to the preservation of its stone architecture, Akko is one of the top destinations in the nation to visit for history buffs. With khans (caravanserais), fortresses, and Crusader-era structures to visit, there are many historical tourist sites and activities in this maze of passageways.
One of Akko’s most notable attractions is the massive fortress built by Ahmed Al-Jazzar in the 18th century, which is located immediately inside the ancient city walls.
An ancient Crusader-built citadel construction sits above the present-day Ottoman edifice.
The citadel building, which now houses the Museum of Underground Prisoners, was used as a jail by the British during the time of the British Mandate.
This museum honors the Jewish warriors who were detained or put to death here by the British government during the Mandate era with a collection of old black and white photos and documents.
Location: Al-Jazzar Street in Akko
The best part of visiting a citadel is exploring underneath Ahmed Al-fortress. Jazzar’s A remarkable collection of medieval vaulted halls that were originally the Knights Hospitaller’s headquarters may be seen at the Crusader City historic site.
The Knights Hall and Dining Hall are the outstanding examples of the majestic, soaring Gothic architecture of the medieval Crusader period. There are six connected vaulted halls and a dungeon to explore.
After seeing the halls, those who don’t mind tight spaces can make their way to the crypt by a small underground passage.
The granite and porphyry columns that Ahmed el-Jazzar imported from Caesarea to create this khan gave it the name Khan al-Umdan (Khan of the Columns).
The khan offered lodging for visiting merchants while they conducted business in the city. It was constructed on the site of the Crusaders’ Dominican convent.
The bottom level rooms, which are arranged around a wide rectangular courtyard, would have served as stables and storage areas, and the upper floors would have served as the merchants’ bedroom quarters.
The clock tower honoring Sultan Abdul Hamid’s jubilee in 1906 is located over the north gate.
In Akko, at Salah Bazri Street
One of Akko’s most interesting tourist attractions, the gloomy Crusader Tunnel is suitable for those who are not claustrophobic.
Local plumber in 1994 made the discovery. Originally, a Templar palace would have been connected to the harbor via the underground tube, giving Templars a covert escape route to the sea in case of invasion.
Today, it offers a remarkable look into Crusader architecture and extends from HaHagana Street to the Khan al-Umdan.
If you have even the slightest curiosity in this town’s medieval Crusader past, I strongly advise taking a stroll through this area.
Postal Code: HaHagana Street
St. John’s Church
St. John’s Church, which was founded in 1737 and is on the site of an earlier Crusader church dedicated to St. Andrew from the 12th century, is by far Akko’s most attractive church.
The church’s interior is quite basic, and the majority of visitors just come to take pictures of the outside.
One of Akko’s most picturesque locations for photographers is the contrast of the church’s brilliant red bell tower and stark white walls with the seafront’s deteriorating stone walls. To catch the softest light, come here in the late afternoon.
In Akko, at Salah Bazri Street
Akko harbor, which is now home to vibrantly painted local fishing boats and yachts, was a bustling and significant port from the classical era all the way through the medieval era.
It was occasionally held by as many as eighty ships during the Crusader era. All that is left of the old port is this little, serene fishing harbor because the original port has since silted up.
From here, you may board a tour boat and sail out into the Mediterranean for stunning views of the Akko Old City.
Hammam al-Pasha Museum
An intriguing museum with exhibits on the history and culture of Turkish bathing is currently housed in this antique hammam (Turkish bath), which has undergone a thorough restoration.
This hammam, which was built in the 18th century, is a superb illustration of the architecture and decor of bathhouses during the Ottoman era. Up until the 1940s, the Turkish spa was still in operation.
With the use of dioramas located throughout the rooms and an audio tour, visitors are guided through the history of the hammam and traditional hammam procedures. The complete bathing procedure is described, as well as the significant role that hammam culture plays in daily life.
El-Jazzar Street, Akko is the address.
Old Town Souk
The Old City’s main souk (market area) of Akko is a lively bazaar full of fresh food, inexpensive meals, buckets of spices, and trinkets.
It’s a terrific spot to rummage through fabrics and bric-a-brac if you’re searching for a unique present to bring home, but if you want to get a decent deal from the vendors, you’ll need to put your negotiating hat on.
Even if you have no intention of buying anything, a leisurely stroll around this area is still enjoyable to experience the bustle of neighborhood shoppers and take in the sights and sounds of a classic souk district.
Jews from Poland and Lithuania who had fought against the Nazis during World War II established the kibbutz Lohamei HaGetaot in 1949.
It is the location of a moving exhibit devoted to the Holocaust and Jewish resistance. The “Jerusalem of Lithuania” Vilnius is shown in exhibits on the ground floor, together with the town’s Jewish population from 1551 through 1940.
There contains information about the early socialist and Zionist movements at the end of the 19th century, items that depict Polish Jews’ daily lives, and an exhibition of almost 2,000 works of art created by prisoners of concentration camps, including portraits of other prisoners.
Bahje Baha’i Centre
Visit the shrine of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith, amid the lovely gardens of Bahji to take a break from exploring historic sites.
He spent his final years in the red-roofed home amid the gardens after being banished to Akko in 1868.
The Baha’i Gardens of Haifa, which are more well-known, have a sibling site here. Akko’s garden is as well maintained despite being considerably smaller and more humble. It is also considerably less busy than Haifa’s gardens, which makes it more tranquil.
You must sign up for one of the guided excursions that go from 9 am to noon if you wish to view the shrine. Otherwise, visitors are allowed to explore certain gardening areas on their own.
Location: 3 kilometers north of Akko