A walk through the city of the Crusaders
Today, Acre is a very vibrant city, in the east is vain and colorful. This is especially noticeable in the narrow streets of the old city, in the bazaar and near the port. A tourist should tune in advance to the fact that in the historical center he will not find a tinted tourist area with neat signs at ancient monuments. Ordinary people live in the old center, mainly Arabs, and many houses are built literally on the remains of the former city.
In fact, Acre consists of several cities at once, sprouted one into another, you know, like a Russian nesting doll: removed the cap, and there is another doll with a new face, and each next with its own character. Such is Acre.
We began our journey through Acre with the city of the Crusaders, which until recently was underground. When archaeologists began excavating, they, to their surprise, discovered beautiful palaces built in accordance with the latest trends in medieval fashion. We saw, even a small part of it, the magnificent city built by the knights – huge ceremonial rooms with vaulted ceilings, gloomy casemates, stables, hospital rooms of the ionite hospital, underground labyrinth passages, water basins and quite worthy medieval toilets.
But the Knight’s Hall was especially impressed. They say that it was here that a reception was arranged in honor of the Venetian merchant Marco Polo. Today, the medieval Knights’ Hall is also ready to receive orders for celebrations.
And this hall is also used as an exhibition room. Here is the work of a modern artist
Residents of bygone centuries, it turns out, also loved to leave their autographs on the walls.
Then we came to the Khan el Udman or the hotel of the Colonnade. This building dates back to the reign of El Jazzar, when the Turks built in Acre inns. Caravanserai “Khan el Udman” is a very regular geometric shape. The entire lower floor was occupied by stables, and on the upper floor there were guests. In the future, the city authorities intend to restore the building and turn it into a luxury hotel.
Behind the caravanserai, the clock tower, if you are not too lazy and go up, you can take a look at the whole port of Acre with one glance. But it is much more interesting to go to the port through the Templar tunnel. This 350-meter underground corridor was discovered by accident only in 1994. A resident of the old house complained of a malfunction in the sewer system. Workers came in and, fixing problems, unexpectedly discovered a hole under the floor leading to the unknown. Invited archaeologists have found that this tunnel, laid by the Knights Templars, connected the port underground with the Templar Fortress. It was a strategically important building that provided safety to the knights and their guests. A rather narrow stone passage was cleared, strengthened, paved with bridges, and now it is open to visitors.
Leaving the tunnel on the embankment, we admired the fortifications of the port.
To take a breath and return to reality after a deep immersion in history, we sat in a cozy cafe on the waterfront with a view of the ancient fortress. By the way, coffee in Acre is made very worthy.