Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Ancient Seaport of Akko

Akko, on the cost of the of the Mediterranean Sea, is a mix of Crusader ruins, Gothic archways and Mosques and minarets. The Old City of Akko is charming and filled with atmosphere and history. If you ever happen upon this part of the world, Akko is a place that you must make a priority to visit.

"The origins date back to Canaanite times, but the form in which it survives today was set by the Arabs and their Crusader foes. After the Crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099, they seized Akko as their main port and lifeline back to Europe. Lost at one point to the Muslim armies under Saladin, it was regained by Richard I, the Lionheart. Crusader Akko was destroyed by the victorious Arab armies in 1291 and what can be seen today is largely an 18th century Turkish town built on the site of the old."

There was so much to do here and our time was limited. Here are just a couple of highlights from the ancient city. We didn't get to see even half of what there is to see in the Old City. Inside the Citadel and the Subterranean Crusader city.

Listening to the self guided tour.
The Story of the Last Bath Attendant...Turkish bath that is...during the Ottoman Period. The baths served as a social center where people met for rest, entertainment and banquets. An imaginary story tells the history of Akko during the period.
Old meets new
Mosque of El-Jazzar. "Akko lay semi-derelict for more than 400 years after its destruction in 1291. Dahr el-Amer and his successor, Ahmed Pasha el-Jazzar governed the Ottoman city in the second half of the 18th century. El-Jazzar was a prolific builder and among his legacy is the mosque which bears his name." A walk down through the souk to the ancient seawall netted a BIG catch.

1 comment:

Dina said...

Acco. I can't believe they put those statues in the Turkish bath.