The Old City of Acre is full of surprises
It has all the ingredients needed to surprise its devotees and acquaintances
each and every day, and how much more so to impress today’s new visitors
arriving at its gates.
However, the Old City is not the private domain of one tour guide or another,
of a particular archeologist or artist;
it’s the patrimony of all who come to visit, present and future.
For all and sundry, walking tour routes based on selected topics
will be posted here from time to time.
1) Walls and Wars - Starting point: Abdullah Pasha House. The route: Yosef Ben Matityahu Street, Tsalbanim (Crusaders) Street south to Louis IX Street, Louis de Filippo Street, the memorial monument to the British officers (Major Thomas Oldfield and Col. Wm. Walker), Sidney Smith Alley, the location of the Acre Prison break-in. From Chaim Weizmann Street head to Caffarelli Street, return and ascend the al-Jazzar wall, walk eastward, until Burj al-Commander. From here southward to the cannons and mausoleum, descend by the southern ramp and walk to the Land Gate and the Burj Kapu, exit the gate and enter the eastern moat, and from there to Salah ad-Din Street.
Ending point: the plaza in front of the al-Jazzar Mosque
2) Notables and Rulers - Starting point: The Lighthouse. The route: The Dahr al-Omar
wall, Salah and Batzri Street, Ramban Street, Lusignan Street, Suleiman Pasha Street, Genoa Square, the Bahá'í ‘Abbúd House. Here, from the Memorial Monument to the British Officers, proceed to Louis de Filippo Street, Sidney Smith Alley, to Baldwin Street by way of the al-Zeituna Mosque, then to Alharizi Street, Ramchal Street, Richard the Lion-hearted Street, al-Jazzar Mosque, Haim Farhi Square, Salah ad-Din Street, the ascending ramp, Napoleon Bonaparte Street.
Ending point: the plaza in front of the al-Jazzar Mosque.
3) Faiths and Religions - Starting point: The Lighthouse. The route: the Church of St. John, St. Andreas Church by way of Ha-Haganah Street, along Shevet Asher (Tribe of Asher) to al-Muallaq Mosque, al-Mina Mosque (Sinan Pasha), the Franciscan complex (Terra Sancta Church and school), the Ramchal Synagogue, al-Zeituna Mosque, al-Jazzar Mosque, Zawiyat al-Shaziliyya, and ‘Abbúd House. Ending point: The Lighthouse.
4) Sellers and Buyers - Starting point: the plaza in front of the al-Jazzar Mosque. The route: the sabil by the entrance to the mosque, the “Sealed Market”, the Turkish Bazaar, the Souk al-Abyad (the White Market), the sabil east of Souk al-Abyad “the Donkey Khan” (Khan al-Khamir), Khan al-Shawarda, the fishing harbor, Khan al-Umdan, Khan al- Shuna, Khan al-Faranj, the main market street. Ending point: the plaza in front of the al-Jazzar Mosque.
5) Artisans and Tradesmen - Throughout the Old City are scattered traditional artisans and tradesmen who are linked to daily life: makers and repairers of fishing nets; hook and lure makers; boat builders and repairers; pitot bakers with their stone ovens; artisans working in metal; landscape and portrait painters; vendors of juices and of pastries sweet and salty; and more. In the course of a visit to their places of work the visitor directly and intimately feels the pulse of the city, a pulse that has been beating for thousands of years.
6) Urban Planning and Architecture - Starting point: The Lighthouse. The route: The reconstructed ramp, the Sea Wall Promenade, the roof of the Doniana restaurant, the reconstructed sewer line, Calcareous sandstone (Hebrew, Arabic: kurkar) blocks, arches, the gates of the city and of the khans, sabils (public water fountains), Khan al-Umdan, Venice Square, the Sea Gate, Sinan Pasha Mosque (al-Mina, the Fishermen’s Mosque), “Alley of the Clubs”; arch and keystone; round windows; fresco; restoration, plan of the Land Gate, Souk al-Abyad (the White Market) with its orientation reversed, the closed Turkish Bazaar, residential patio, street signs, the roofs of the Old City, the Moslem city with its squares and neighborhoods, the quarters of the Crusader City, Hospitallers, Templars, limestone construction, granite pillars in the Khan al-Umdan, corner towers and moats, the “Palace”, the entrance pillars of al-Zeituna Mosque, the house in a sheik’s tomb, alleys, basement dwellings, water supply, sewage removal.