Akko(עכו), also known historically to Arabs as عكّا ('Akka) and Westerners as Acre, lies on the northern edge of the Bay of Acre in northern Israel and receives many Baha'i pilgrims. On its present site, Akko possesses a long history of various cultures: Israelites, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders and Arabs. Akko is a holy city in the Bahá'í Faith and has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a site of extraordinary significance to the world’s cultural heritage.
Getting to Akko (Acre) is very simple, as it is situated on the Mediterranean Coast directly to the north of Haifa and on the main Israeli railroad track.
- Israel Railways. Every 30 minutes. Israrail, Israel's only train operator, has over 40 daily trains to and from Akko every 30 minutes almost around the clock. Some of these train go only till Haifa, while others travel southbound to Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport. NOTE: there is no train service during the Jewish Sabbath: from mid-afternoon Friday till after dark on Saturday. 39 NIS from Tel Aviv, 15.50 NIS from Haifa.
- Nateev Express. , a Galilee-area bus company based in Nazareth, has a slower (especially at rush hour) and cheaper connection to Akko, with bus lines 271, 272 (intercity express) and 251. Lines 361, 262 and 500 connect Akko with Carmiel. NOTE: there is no bus service during the Jewish Sabbath: from mid-afternoon Friday till after dark on Saturday. 11.7 NIS from Haifa and from Carmiel.
- A "service taxi" (Hebrew: מונית שרות; moNEET sheROOT) is an interurban van carrying 10 passengers. These travel frequently from the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa to Akko. They cost about the same as the bus. Look for a sign saying "Akko Nahariya" or "Akko Karmiel" (in Hebrew only) in the front windshield of the service taxi. If you don't know Hebrew, go to Herzl Street in Haifa, point an index finger at a 45 degree angle with the ground (the Israeli hitchhiking signal) when a service taxi drives by, and ask where it's going. They pick up and offload passengers at bus stops. NOTE: Unlike public transportation (bus and train) which cease service during the Jewish Sabbath, this line runs up to midnight on Fridays and during the day on Saturday.
- Private taxis are available but are very costly. This is an option if you're traveling in a group of up to 4 passengers and/or have a lot of luggage.
- The wall has a lot of history to offer, and if you're staying at Walid's Gate hostel it's just across the road. It houses the Ethnological Museum. It is fun to walk along, especially the part bordering the sea. In 1750, Daher El-Omar, the ruler of Acre, utilized the remnants of the Crusader walls as a foundation for his walls. Two gates were set in the wall, the "land gate" in the eastern wall, and the "sea gate" in the southern wall. In 1912 the Acre lighthouse was built on the south-western corner of the walls.
- Hall of the Crusader Knights at the Citadel. Under the citadel and prison of Acre, archaeological excavations revealed a complex of halls, which was built and used by the Hospitallers Knights. This complex was a part of the Hospitallers' citadel, which was combined in the northern wall of Acre. The complex includes six semi-joined halls, one recently excavated large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and remains of an ancient Gothic church. Medieval European remains include the Church of Saint George and adjacent houses at the Genovese Square . There were also residential quarters and marketplaces run by merchants from Pisa and Amalfi in Crusader and medieval Acre.
- The citadel of Acre is an Ottoman fortification, built on the foundation of the Hospitallerian citadel. The citadel was part of the city's defensive formation, reinforcing the northern wall. During the 20th century the citadel was used mainly as a prison and as the site for a gallows. During the British mandate period, activists of Jewish Zionist resistance movements were held prisoner there; some were executed there.
- Tunnel of the Templars
- The synagogue of the Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto)a Kabbalah master
- Or Torah, Tunisian synagogue, a meticulously handcrafted spectacle of stained glass and tile mossaic entirely unique to Akko
- Khan el Umdan Old Akko has several large khans (an inn enclosing a courtyard, used by caravans for accommodation) which once served the camel caravans bringing in grain from the hinterland. The grandest is the Khan al-Umdan . Its name means 'Inn of the Pillars', and it was built by Al-Jazzar in 1785. The pillars that give the khan its name were looted from Caesarea. It is a two story structure and the ground floor would have housed the animals, while their merchant owners would have slept upstairs.
- Oukashi Art Museum Around the corner from the Hamman al-Pasha is a gallery devoted to the works of Avshalom Okashi (1916-80), an influential Israeli painter and a resident of Akko for the last half of his life.
- The Great Mosque built in the 18th Century, it is one of Israel's most prominent ones
- The Mosque of Jezzar Pasha was built in 1781. Jezzar Pasha and his successor Suleiman Pasha, are both buried in a small graveyard adjacent to the mosque. In a shrine on the second level of the mosque, a single hair from the prophet Mohammed's beard is kept and shown on special ceremonial occasions.
- Hammam al-Basha Built in 1795 by Jezzar Pasha, Acre's hammam has a series of hot rooms and a hexagonal steam room with a marble fountain. It was used by the Irgun as a bridge to break into the citadel's prison. The bathhouse kept functioning until 1950.
- The Pisan Port
- The Shrine of Baha'u'llah. The holiest place for the Baha'is. The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh is composed of a central room that has a small garden at its centre, which has trees growing in it and there are layers of carpets around the walls. In the right hand corner of the central room there is a small room where Bahá'u'lláh's remains are laid to rest.
- The Market
- Take a boat ride around the walls of the old city.
You can find delicious hummus throughout Akko, and baklava in the old bazaar. One of the best hummus you can eat in Israel is at "Hummus Sa'id" in the Old City, but don't be too late - as soon as the hummus is finished the restaurant closes, usually at about 1 pm - 2 pm. This underscores the fact that in the regional Arab cuisine, hummus is served warm and eaten in the morning.
Akko is famous for its fish restaurants serving regional (Middle Eastern and Mediterranean) side dishes. Some of the best are located in the port area, Donyana and Abu Khristo are popular for those seeking a great meal in a great location overlooking the sea. Farther north is a local branch of the renowned Arab restaurant El-Babur, spacious and elegant (for its moderate prices) with an up-close view of the sea.
The restaurants along the beach area are fabulous. Some may be expensive, but the food is superb. Eat everywhere, in Sal A Dim Street there is a small bakery with classic Arab sweet pastries featuring honey and nuts. Foods like this are hard to find elsewhere in the country. Experiment and enjoy the experience.
If you are looking for an upscale menu, just north of the lighthouse on the coast promenade (Hahagana Street) is Uri-Buri, named for its chef and rated one of Israel's Top Ten seafood restaurants. Next to it with a similar menu is Beit Maha that is also a great coffee bar.
A little far away from the crowds of the Old City is the locals favorite Gallery Simaan restaurant, located on Ben Ami street (no. 63).
- Walid's Gate Hostel is dodgy indeed, but the experience is worthwhile, and very affordable. Backpackers roughing it up will enjoy a roof over their heads for such a low price. Accommodation is provided in a large dorm room with bunk and normal beds. Price is 40 NIS(10usd) per person per night.
- The Acco Guest House of Zippi. In Bilu street, is a warm, family-owned, budget hostel, situated in a walking distance from the Old City of Akko. Suitable for a short vacation or for a long stay for independent travelers, backpackers and families traveling in Akko, Safed and the Galilee.
- Akkotel, Salahudin St. (Enter Old City on Weizman, continue to the left on Salah ad Din), ☎ +972-4-9877100. Check-in: 3:00, check-out: 12:00. A refurbished boutique hotel along the eastern wall of the old city. Uniquely designed rooms with high ceilings and hand made furniture, and eager-to-please innkeepers make it a great upscale option in Akko. 600 NIS per night.
- Palm Beach Hotel (Located on the beach close to the town. Akko station is about 1km from the hotel.). Check-in: 3 PM, check-out: 11 AM. Situated on the coastal stretch of Israel. The Palm Beach is a unique combination of 127 modern rooms and suites with a health and sports club, a spa and superb conference facilities. The panoramic views of Haifa Bay and Akko are spectacular
|Routes through Akko|
|Nahariya ←||N S||→ Haifa|