Jewish city story of Acre

The city of Acre (Akko) is one of the most ancient port cities in the Middle East. Located in northern Israel on the western Mediterranean coast, Acre is recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The city contains some of the oldest archaeological ruins in Israel and beneath the ground is a whole other universe of tunnels, remnants from the Crusader Period. In fact some of the most well preserved Crusader sites in the world can be found here. This ancient city has plenty of modern features as well with renowned restaurants, beaches, markets, and festivals. On your next trip to Israel make Acre one of your preferred destinations.  

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Acre International Fringe Theatre Festival

The Acre Festival of Alternative Israeli Theatre, also known as the Acre Fringe Theatre Festival or Israel Fringe Theatre Festival, is a four-day performing arts festival held annually in the city of Acre, Israel during the Intermediate Days of the Sukkot holiday in early autumn. The Festival was Founded in 1980, and it features a competition for original plays that premier during the festival, along with local and foreign theatre productions, street theatre and open-air performances. There are also concerts, arts and crafts workshops, and lectures. The majority of the Festival's plays come from outside the mainstream of establishment Israeli theatre, some having avantgarde characteristics and subjects giving outlet to their creators' personal statements. Some combine media and genres such as pantomime, clowning, video, dance, and performance art rarely seen in the conventional theatre. Many are staged in historic venues within the Old City of Acre, such as its Crusader-era citadel and knights' halls that have undergone conservation. The Festival has been produced by the Municipality of Acre since the year 2000. It is supported by the Israel Ministry of Culture, the Old Acre Development Company and overseas philanthropic foundations. The Acre Festival has become a symbol of coexistence between the city's Jewish and Arab inhabitants. Each year's program features works by Arab playwrights and troupes along with performances by music ensembles. Performance projects led by theatre professionals provide training for local Arab and Jewish teens, including immigrant youth. The Festival has been postponed and scaled down twice due to interethnic disturbances: during the October 2000 events of the Second Intifada, and in 2008 due to the Yom Kippur riots, after which the Festival was held during the Hanukkah holiday week.

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אתרים מומלצים Sites to see


Okashi Art Museum

Adjacent to the Knights’ Halls in Old Akko, an ancient building with cruciform domes dating back to the Ottoman period houses a museum featuring rotating exhibitions of Israeli art alongside a permanent exhibit of the works of late artist, Avshalom Okashi (1916-1980). Okashi was undoubtedly one of Israel’s most salient artists and he left an indelible mark on Israeli art. He spent most of his life in Akko, where he set up his painting workshop (which became the Okashi Museum posthumously) in order to pass on his artistic heritage to future generations. Okashi taught art in most of Akko’s schools. He also taught at the University of Haifa’s Art Department during its initial years. The subjects of his early works are rooted in nature and in the human and spiritual reality of Israel and they are drawn from the biblical texts he grew up on in his grandfather’s home. Avshalom Okashi was one of the lynchpins of the New Horizons movement, a group of artists that formed in Israel after the War of Independence and he presented his work in all of the group’s exhibitions. His works are exhibited in the section dedicated to the museum’s permanent exhibition in his name, which was established in his memory in Old Akko. Moreover, there are rotating exhibitions in the other section of the museum also featuring contemporary Israeli art. There have been several exhibitions of leading Israeli artists over the years, e.g.: Yigal Ozeri, Ofer Lalouche, Yechiel Shemi, Menashe Kadishman, Shmulik Katz, Tali Amitai-Tabib, Azriel Kaufman, Nahum Gutman and many more illustrious artists. The museum maintains an ongoing dialogue with artists pursuing Okashi’s path and with his pupils and exhibits their works at every possible opportunity.

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Tours of Acre


Acre Old City Market

The Crusader city of Acre lies on the Mediterranean coast just north of Haifa. It is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in Israel with a hidden Crusader city beneath the ground and the 18th century Old City above ground. One of the most exciting things to do in Acre is walking through the Old City where the main streets are lined with market stalls and shops that open up onto the street. The Acre Old City Market is a dirty, colorful, loud and bustling market where the local residents do their shopping among curious tourists. The prices are very reasonable, the vendors friendly and you can even try bargaining. Most of the market is covered so you won’t be in the sun and vendors display their goods hanging from every possible surface and spread out onto the street. The market operates during daylight hours and it is perfectly safe to walk around during the daytime. If you follow the market streets you will eventually reach the sea. The market’s real purpose is to supply locals who live in the Old City with all they need. Among the goods on sale there is clothing, kitchen utensils, toys, jewelry, accessories, shoes, leather goods and more. Food on sale includes both raw and ready-to-eat food. See the fish monger; butcher; vegetable stalls; cheese and spice stalls. At the bakery see large trays of traditional baklava sweet cakes being prepared. You can find unique traditional items in the Acre Old City Market like hooker pipes. In among the market, stalls are several restaurants selling grilled meats, fish dishes, shawama and falafel. Having entered the Old City Market and walked for a few meters you will see a doorway on your right that opens up to a gentrified, restored 18th century market street. This market is dedicated to arts, crafts and souvenirs. It is completely different to the Old City Market and is lined with elegant boutiques, eateries and pubs. If the Old City Market is a bit much for you then head in to this quieter and cleaner side street.

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Jack Dev May 6, 2023

Acre, Israel City Story: Israel's Crusader Legacy Etched in Stone

The city of Acre (Akko) is one of the most ancient port cities in the Middle East. Located in northern Israel on the western Mediterranean coast, Acre is recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The city contains some of the oldest archaeological ruins in Israel and beneath the ground is a whole other universe of tunnels, remnants from the Crusader Period. In fact some of the most well preserved Crusader sites in the world can be found here. This ancient city has plenty of modern features as well with renowned restaurants, beaches, markets, and festivals. On your next trip to Israel make Acre one of your preferred destinations.   The History of Acre Acre is one of the oldest inhabited areas in the world. Before the region even existed as a city the earliest signs of human occupation date all the way back to 3000 BCE. At this time, the city consisted of small Canaanite farming communities. The first written designation of Acre is from a 19th century BCE Egyptian document known as the Execration texts. The city was known across the ancient world, and has retained its popularity through Israel’s various historic periods of conquest. It is not mentioned in connection with the Jewish people until the Biblical chapter of Judges and Isaiah. The Israelites had conquered the area and distributed the land amongst the twelve tribes of Israel. Hellenism appeared with Alexander the Great in 332 BCE who later turned the city over to the Ptolemy Dynasty and renamed the city Ptolemais.  Next came the Romans who used the city as a base of operations during the Jewish Revolt in 66 BCE. After that came the Persian conquest (614), then the Arabs (638), the Crusaders in the 12th century and the Mamluks. Ottoman Turks controlled Acre from the 16th-20th century which ended with the establishment of British Mandate Palestine in 1918. For all those periods Jews continuously inhabited Acre as a minority until Israel troops seized the city in the War of Independence. After that the city once again became a Jewish majority with a few remaining Arab families. Today Acre is one of the most diverse cities in Israel with substantial Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, and Baha’i populations. The city is a true representation of the high level of diversity that is a staple characteristic of Israel today.  Top Sites to Visit in Acre The city’s broad history under the rule of many nations has contributed to the multilayered aspect of the Old City. Acre is a very typical ancient city that follows a layered construction plan. The last society to conquer Israel built its structures on top of previous rulers' sites. Therefore the Old City of Acre is located both above and below the surface level. In the layers below one can find fortifications from the Crusader period over which there are numerous Turkish style structures including citadels, mosques and ancient public baths. Just a few streets over from the Ottoman built walls of the Old City is the Or Torah Synagogue. This Tunisian Jewish house of worship was erected in 1955. Among synagogue styles Or Torah is truly one of a kind, featuring mosaic-covered walls and floors as well as seven Torah arks. The entire synagogue is a visual depiction of Jewish history, both past and present. Its mosaics include scenes from the Bible and classic ancient Jewish symbols like the menorah. Inside the walls of the Old City is the Citadel of Acre, a large compound that served as fortifications for several of Israel’s conquerors dating all the way back to the Hellenistic period. The most extensive remains belong to the Crusader period. During this time the Citadel was known as the Knights Hospitaller and extended over an area of 8,300 square meters.  During the Crusader period the notable Jewish scholar Nachmanides (Ramban) brought the study of Torah back to Acre. At the time Jewish learning was not a prominent pursuit. The Ramban made Acre his home until his death in 1270. Other than the iconic sites and Jewish personas, Acre is also home to a rich modern cultural life including some of the best food to be found in Israel. Uri Buri, a restaurant located right on the edge of the Mediterranean in the Old City is one of the best spots to sample the fruit de mer of Israel. Chef Uri Buri is famous for his eclectic personality and innovative dishes like his bass or trout casserole.  This introduction to the city of Acre just scratches the surface of experiences to be had. There are several resources available to make your trip as in depth as possible. Be sure to check out some of the local tours led by experts in Acre’s cultural scene that focus on food and archaeology. Some of the tours are even private, giving you the opportunity to gain a one on one learning experience. Acre is a paradise of history and culture, keeping its patrons engaged and awestruck at every step of the journey.   

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Hotels in Acre


The Efendi Hotel

The Efendi Hotel is one of the cultural and magnificent assets of the city of Acre. Between the lights of the lighthouse on the city walls, and the picturesque alleys of the Old City of Acre, lies one of the most fascinating, pampering and special hotels in the world. The Efendi Hotel is a classic and elegant boutique hotel located in two historical buildings that represent the glorious period of Acre, beginning in the Byzantine period. The hotel houses 12 ornate rooms, some of which contain painted ceilings and decorated with ornaments unique to the Ottoman period. Some of the rooms face the sea and others look out over the alleys of the Old City. Accommodation at the hotel includes a personally served local breakfast. A peaceful terrace and a cellar from the Crusader period, housing a stylish wine bar, a 400-year-old authentic Turkish Hamam, a Spa for couples, and a rooftop with a view to the Galilee Hills and the Mediterranean, from Rosh Hanikra all the way to Mount Carmel. For the purpose of the construction of the hotel extending over an area of 1350 m², two antique and stone buildings, formerly large homes of rich merchant families from Acre, were leased and interconnected. The “Shukri Building”, known by its name “The Palace”, and “Afifi House”, known also as the WIZO House, were combined in the process, to buildings, past and present, a harmonic merge. The stately building houses 12 rooms, each of which presents its own character and unique style. The ceilings in some of the room are painted and decorated with unique ornaments from the Ottoman period, Reconstructed by restoration specialists, and Italian artists, who had been brought especially from Venice. In some of the rooms wooden ceilings have been preserved at a height of 6 m. The furniture and accessories in the rooms are the result of impressive detailed collection, great attention, and much love for each piece of furniture, decoration and accessory present in the room. Each room is unique in style and character, and each of room entails different emotions. In each of the rooms you will find the best accessories and modern indulgence without giving up the enchanting authenticity and the special atmosphere. Located on each level are four guestrooms, between the rooms there is a common living room with inviting sitting areas. On the large terrace in the northern part of the hotel you may enjoy a view over the Mediterranean, relax and rest in one of the recumbence areas, where you can pamper yourself. The hotel offers an authentic, 400-year-old Turkish Hamam, and a spa with a variety of professional treatments. The hotel is constructed layer by layer. Its cellar stems from the Crusader period and is 900 years old. It contains the remains of a 1500-year-old building from the Byzantine period in which you will find today a high-quality wine bar, with the choice of exquisite Israeli wines in an atmosphere filled with mystery and history. Part of the dining room remains from the late Islamic period, when it served as a private church.



The old city of Akko captivated us with its charm. The story of the city, which started thousands of years ago. A peninsula enclosed by ancient walls and the blue sea surrounding it and within, an endless range of colors, smells and tastes: the picturesque fishermen's port, an authentic market, superb chef restaurants all serving dishes made from the local fish and produce. We, Tamar and Meir, have found life to be enthralling, authentic and colorful in Akko. A tapestry of old and new, East and West, Land and Sea. We fell in love with this magical city and we invite you to stay with us for a different experience. As you wander through the alleys and stay in our suites, you'll be joining all those who inhabited Akko before you: Crusaders, Mamelukes, Ottomans, Jews, Christians, Muslims and Bahais, members of all religions and faiths who have lived in Akko throughout history. Get lost in the allies, sip bitter coffee in one of the local cafés, smoke a hookah at Han A-Shwarda, eat Humus, pamper yourselves at the Turkish Bath, eat at one of the fine restaurants the old city hosts, walk along the sea at sunset and visit the unique archeological sites. And when you are ready for a break, relax in your indulging suite or on the Roof-Top-Terrace, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Whether you are a couple on a romantic retreat, a family, a small group or on a business trip, we have an unforgettable place to offer you. Leave you high heels at home, because Akko like so many old cities is abundant with stairs and cobblestone allies. Due to the constrictions of preservation, most of our suites and our Roof-Top-Terrace are accessible only by stairs. The suites are scattered along the picturesque allies of the old city, and still just a short walking distance for one another. The Old City of Akko is so small that everything is close by. A short walk will lead you to the main building, which houses the Reception, Lobby and the Roof-Terrace, where breakfast is served daily. A great spot to relax with the exquisite view of the Mediterranean Sea and the old city walls.


Arabesque in Acre

Open to the public since April 2016, Arabesque comprises two beautifully restored and renovated Ottoman buildings in the ancient city of Acre on the northern Mediterranean coast of Israel. The property is owned by the father-and-son team of Evan Fallenberg and Micha Fallenberg – Micha serves as manager of Arabesque – and is staffed by locals. Nearly 300 years old but with some stones dating back nearly one thousand years to the Crusader period, Arabesque boasts two Great Halls – one with a baby grand piano – and chef’s kitchens for events; cozy courtyards and a trickling savil fountain; and seven rooms with unique features, like high vaulted ceilings, original stone walls, tile floors, antique furniture and artwork. All rooms have the amenities of a modern hotel room (TV, a/c, comfortable furnishings, a kitchenette). Arabesque is situated in the very middle of the Old City and is less than five minutes’ walk to the suk (market), the Crusader Knights’ Hall, the Templar Tunnel, the Al Jazzar Mosque, the Turkish bathhouse, the port, and all the other major tourist attractions. The twisting alleyways and city ramparts are fun to wander at any hour, and we invite you to explore and lose yourself. While Arabesque is a charming and unique place to spend a few nights and days in Acre, it is much more than just a small boutique hotel. It is our mission to have Arabesque serve the local community by making it a venue for cultural events; promote local talent, by hosting musical, literary, artistic and culinary events featuring local artists; welcome artists of all kinds from the city, the region and the world as they pursue artistic projects; and host private events of all kinds that promote dialogue through the arts. The population of the Old City of Akko – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is mostly Muslim, but the project itself has been a labor of love shared by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike. At Arabesque we view art and culture as a unifying factor, even – or especially – in a region of contention like the Middle East.

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