City of Acre, Fortified Town of the West
The City of Acre is a beautiful historic walled port city found in the Western Galilee region of Israel. It is a city with a rough calculated population of 46,000 people since the Phoenician period up until the present. Two-thirds of Acre’s population is Jewish, and about one-third of it is composed up of the Arab citizens of Israel.
The City of Acre was one of Israel’s most significant cities during the ancient times. It is where various civilizations like the Greeks, Romans, Ottoman, and British made their settlement and established their own communities. The Crusaders were able to conquer Acre and the Ottomans settled in there for many centuries. Even Napoleon Bonaparte strive to put his hands on the city of Acre, but retreated in humiliation after a couple of months of failed attempts.
All the fingerprints of the world’s greatest conqueror’s can be traced in the wall of the Old Acre; the culture and art of them were absorbed and is now contributing to Acre’s tourism industry.
The present Acre is characterized as a fortified town. Among the high-barricaded alleys and underground passages are: a Christian monastery and a colossal mosque, Turkish baths and an inn, halls of the Knights of the Templar, that has Templar tunnel and other archaeological findings. Museums, churches, hotels near the beach shores, restaurants and fishing port also join these tourist spots.
The remains of the Crusader town lie almost intact, both below and above Acre’s streets. It provides a striking view of the style and structures of the entire medieval Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem.
Since the 1990s a large-scale archaeological excavations have been launched. Various efforts are made to preserve Acre’s ancient sites. In the year of 2009, renovations were planned for the “Inn of the Columns”. This is the largest of the entire several numbers of Ottoman inns still standing in Acre.
Acre annually hosts a series of colorful festivals that attract thousands of visitors from all parts of the world. In between ancient alleyways, a vivacious market buzzes with tons of different activities. This is also where one of Israel’s world famous hummus restaurants is found. There is also a string of heavenly restaurants that serves the best fish dishes. Not far away from the city, just slightly secluded, is the beautifully manicured garden of the Bahai faith. This place was built by members of the Bahai religion. It is said that when one wanders along the garden path of meticulously designed flowerbeds gives him/her an extreme inner pleasure.
City of Acre, Home of the Baha’i Faith
Acre also cradles a lot of Baha’i holy places. These establishments emerged from Baha’u’llah’s (leader of the Baha’i faith) imprisonment in the Citadel during the Ottoman Rule. Bahá’u’lláh died in Bahjí. Qiblih, a shrine and is considered as the most holy place for Bahá’ís – is where the remains of Bahá’u’lláh is contained. This place is also near the place where Bahji exactly died – that is the Mansion of Bahji.
There are more Bahá’í holy places found in Acre. These include the House of Abbud – which used to be the residence of Bahá’u’lláh and his family. Another is the House of Abdulla Pasha – where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and his family resided later. Also, the Garden of Ridvan is a popular holy place – where Bahá’u’lláh spent the rest of his life.
These Bahá’í Faith holy places together with those in Haifa city located just nearby were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List last July 8,2008. This recognition placed them on the same rank to that of the Vatican City, the Acropolis, the Taj Mahal and the Old City of Jerusalem – as the world’s most religious sites.
How to Get There
Getting to Acre is very simple because it is located on the main Israeli train track. If you decide to travel on train, Acre can be reached 20 minutes maximum from Haifa. The ticket costs 14NIS form Haifa and 43NIS from Tel Aviv. Bus and taxicabs rides are cheaper but slower compared to train rides.
Visit Acre now and experience the beauty of an old city with a young soul.