Thecity of Acre or Akko is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, dating back to the time of the Pharaoh Thutmose III(1504-1450 BCE). It is a city of intrigue, where you can walk through labyrinthine alleys and streets and explore the remnants of Crusader
conquerors. Walking along the walls of the city, you also get a spectacular view of the sea and the city of Haifa.
On May 17, 1948, shortly after the Arab invasion, Israeli troops took control of Acre and most of the Arab inhabitants fled. It was subsequently incorporated into Israel after the War of Independence
Check out Khan El Umdan, the 18th-century structure where camel caravans once brought grain and produce from Galilee to the market. Thename means "inn of the pillars," for the fine granite Herodian pillars brought from Caesarea to support the structure. The clock tower is amuch later addition, built in 1906 in honor of the Turkish sultan Abdul Hamid.
Across from the mosque is the entrance to the subterranean Crusader city. You can walk down to different levels and see how the Turks builton top of the old city. One of the more spectacular rooms is the Knights' Halls, which the Hospitallers
, the Order of the Knights of St. John, used as a fortress more than 700years ago. Today, the main hall is used for concerts. The lowest levelis the Crypt, a great hall that may have been used for great ceremonies by the Crusaders.
Today, the population of Acre is approximately 40,000 and has one ofthe higher proportions of non-Jews of any of Israel's cities, withroughly 25 percent Christians, Muslims, Druze
. The city is a magnet for tourists and the home of the country's steel industry.
Learn more about Akko
Virtual Tour content provided by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise(AICE). To find more information about the sites on our trip and general facts about Israel visit the Virtual Israel Experience
at AICE's Web site.