Destination Guide

The Travel Well Guide

Akko

City: N/A       State: N/A       Country: Israel
Akko or Acre is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel. It is situated on a low promontory at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. According to the Israel Central Bureau Of Statistics (CBS), Acre had a population of 46,000 at the end of 2007. Historically Acre has been regarded as the key to the Levant due to its strategic coastal location.Its also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Being one of the oldest settlements in the world, dating back to 1500 BO the old part of the city, with its incredible collection of buildings, is enclosed by massive, remarkably intact city walls from which there are superb views of the bay.Akko has a turbulent history. It was conquered by Alexander the Great, seized by the Egyptians, changed hands between Muslims and Crusaders, then sank into oblivion for nearly 500 years under the chaotic governance of slave-soldier Mamluks before eventually being absorbed by the Ottoman Empire. In 1918, the British captured it, using the 18th Century Citadel as a high security prison where they later held (and executed) Jewish political activists. In 1947 the Irgun (Zionist fighters) organised the 'greatest jail break in history' when 255 prisoners escaped. Finally, in 1948, Akko became part of Israel.The city has beautiful mosques, churches and historic buildings going back to the 12th century. The Ahmed el-Jazzar, the largest mosque in Israel outside Jerusalem, dominates the skyline - a stunning 18th century Rococo design with a tall sliver of a minaret. Opposite is the partially excavated Crusader City, buried under a mound of earth during the building of the Citadel. An underground passage has been discovered, which gave the Crusaders a secret route to the harbour.The markets of Akko are a delight: the 18th century Turkish bazaar, full of small artisan shops where you can haggle for souvenirs; the Shuq al-Abiad arcade with narrow passageways full of grocery stalls; and the vibrant street market along the main road, which sells everything from fresh fish and baked pastries to spices and perfumes - a glorious profusion of colours and smells.

Climate | When to Visit

Visit during: January to December

Directions | How to Reach

Acre has a central bus station which is served by Egged buses offering services within the city and extensive inter-city services to major cities and towns as Haifa,Nahariya, Karmiel, Safed, KiryatShmona, Sakhnin, as well as lines connecting it to nearby smaller villages. The city is also served by the Acre Railway Station.

miscellaneous | Important Information

Do visit:Museum of Heroism in the Citadel. The Khan el umdan - one of several travellers' inns and camel stables. Persian gardens of Bahji 3 km (2 mi) north of Akko. Ohr Torah Tunisian synagogue.St George's Church. Historical museum of Lohamei Hageta'ot kibbutz, just north of Akko - both fascinating and moving.

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