Acre (Akko)

While Acre (Akko) has been around for thousands of years (since 1500 BC), it's most famous as a Crusader fortress city, besieged by Richard the Lionheart and defended by the Knights Templar. In early 12th century, Acre was conquered by the Christian Crusaders; in 1187 Saladin, the great Islamic leader, captured the city, four years later, Richard the Lionheart re-took Acre. For the next 100 years, Acre was a wealthy Crusader port, until the great battle in 1291, when the Ottomans conquered Acre.

Old Acre (Akko) - During the Crusader era, in the 13th century Acre was the capital city of the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitallers.
Templar Tunnel - In the late 12th century, the Knights Templar built the biggest Acre fortress along the ocean, with walls 28 ft thick (Saladin destroyed that castle). In 1994, it was discovered that the knights built an underground tunnel to go from the castle to the port area.
Follow in the footsteps of the Knights Templar, walking through the 1100 ft (350 meter) tunnel. On the walls is a lightshow, illustrating the history of Acre and more info about the Knights Templar. Templar Tunnel is open daily.
Hospitallers Fortress - Like the Knights Templar, the Knights Hospitallers (Order of the Knights of St. John) were warrior monks. The Hospitallers protected pilgrims and cared for the sick, and built great fortresses throughout the Holy Land.
Kids will enjoy exploring great halls constructed of very thick stone blocks, including bathrooms, dining room, storage rooms, prison, reservoirs to collect water (very important during a siege).
Old city walls -There are plenty of places to see centuries of wall fortifications in Acre (the whole peninsula was encircled). Walk west on the promenade from the port, toward the lighthouse along the Ottoman city walls. Go north, and on the left in the shallow water are the foundations of the Templar fortress.
Also, in the northwest section of the old city, walk on the ramparts from Burj al Kommander to the Land Gate.
Try a cruise of the bay - A great way to see walls of the old city, and imagine the ancient port of Acre over centuries. Afterwards walk around the old Arab market and have a falafel and hummus, an Arab specialty.
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