Burj al-Commander (The Commander’s Tower)

This fortified corner tower is in the northeast corner of the al-Jazzar wall. The tower is named for Major Thomas Oldfield of the British Royal Naval Marines, who fell defending Acre against Napoleon’s forces. The al-Jazzar wall was built after the Napoleonic siege of Acre, using methods imported from Europe for constructing fortifications.
The corner tower includes elements from various periods:
1) A cannon emplacement, built after Napoleon’s siege, commanding the northern and eastern moats.
2) A rectangular building, erected by the Crusaders, that includes a number of large, high-ceilinged halls where cavalry troops were quartered and kept their gear. Today, after intensive cleansing and a comprehensive renovation, this is the location of the “Treasures in the Wall” Ethnographic Museum of the Ethnography Center of Acre and the Galilee.
3) A tunnel crossing the corner tower from south to north and opening into the moat from both sides of the walls. The tunnel was part of the very early fortifications from the previous Arab period, dating from the 9th century C.E.
Particularly notable is the northeast entrance into the halls of the rectangular building, defended by the following tactic: the attackers were forced to advance through a narrow funnel-shaped structure descending steeply westward in the direction of the entrance. The pressure from the soldiers on the slope caused the first rows of attackers to disperse into a prepared trap into which the defenders fired through two rows of apertures in the walls.

Related Articles

The Ramchal Synagogue

The synagogue is named for Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, known by his acronym, RaMCHaL. The Ramchal was born in Padua, Italy, in 1707 and died in Acre in 1743. He…

Read More »

The Franciscan (Terra Sancta) Church

This is a Roman Catholic church, hence its name in Arabic: Deir al-Latin (the Latin Monastery). In 1217, at the height of the Crusader period in Acre, the city’s first…

Read More »