Places to visit in Acre

Acre, Israel. The city walls


Description: The length of the city walls that we will pass is only a few hundred meters. But Acre talks about herself in every centimeter. The story is about how a formidable ruler emerged from a small village in the mountains, how Napoleon can be defeated, what treasures are hidden in the fortified wall, how to eat fish properly and how life is stronger than anything, everywhere and always, even on the city wall.
Distance
1.02 km
Duration
1h 43 m
Likes
18
Places
24
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Acre. Gates of the Northern Fortress Wall
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
The history of the walls of Acre is closely tied with the destiny of the rulers of the city. Their fate and the fate of Acre are surprisingly alike. In the seventeenth century, a boy was born in a small village in the mountains of Galilee. His name was Zahir al-Umar, but History knows him under the name Daher al-Omar or Dahir al-Umar. He was from the Zaydani clan. The origin of this name is obscured, but Zaydan itself claims to be descent from Zayd, the son of Hasan ibn Ali and grandson of Ali, the fourth caliph of Islam. The Daher family had strong trade ties in Damascus. Dacher’s father was a tax collector for the Ottoman rulers. As a teenager, Dacher was involved in a scuffle in Tiberias, where he killed a man. The Bedouin tribe in Galilee hid him. When the Ottoman rulers sent troops from Damascus to pacify the Galilee, Daher al-Omar was able to rebuff and became a local hero, gaining respect among the peasants. Quickly enough, he took possession of Safed, Tiberias, Sepphoris, Nazareth, Shekhem, and Acre, allied with the ruler of Egypt, and with the help of the Russian fleet expanded his rule from Beirut to Gaza.
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North wall. Acre
North wall. Acre
Daher al Omar established a cotton trade with Europe, and he needed a port. The old ruined port of the crusaders met the needs of the ruler of Galilee. The city was surrounded by a fortified wall, which preceded the wall on which we are climbing.
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Acre. Jazzar Pasha walls.
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
It is noteworthy that Dacher El Omar did not build a gate in the northern wall of the city. In Acre, during the reign of Dacher El Omar, there were only "land gates" in the east wall and "sea gates" in the south wall facing the port. The height of the city walls was ten meters and a thickness of only one and a half meters. It is incredible how these weak walls withstood the siege of Napoleon. Napoleon besieged Acre during his campaign in Palestine and Egypt. Ahmad Pasha al-Jazzar ruled the city at that time. He was a descendant of the Bosnians who served the Mamluks in Egypt. He became a henchman of the Ottomans against the heirs of Daher al Omar. He repeatedly went from side to side, entered into alliances and betrayed, enriched, and killed on the way to power and glory. But it was the victory over Napoleon that brought Jazzar Pasha world recognition. Jazzar Pasha built these ramparts, battle towers, cannon redoubts, and massive walls. But after the siege of Napoleon. We will talk about this story further, but for now, let's enter a unique museum.
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Treasures in the Walls Museum
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
The "Treasures in the Wall" Museum often seems to me to be the cave of Aladdin. Time stopped in these rooms under stone arches and wrapped old things with silence. The former barracks of the Ottoman soldiers and the citadel of Burj al Comander became in 2007 a welcoming home for ethnographic exhibits from private collections. The huge space is divided into two large thematic halls. To the left of the entrance is a theatrical bazaar. To the right are the interiors of houses and collections of old things. The bazaar consists of craft shops with real objects. In the tailor's shop, you can see traditional women's clothing of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Wooden log for making fez is in the shop of the hatter. Wooden board with a corrugated coating for washing is in a tinman's shop. The laundresses have soaked the laundry in a basin and rubbed it on the corrugated zincous surface of this board. Making keys was one of the most respected crafts. The enclosed space between the stone walls and the vaulted ceiling, the dim light and the distant knock of a tinsmith's hammer, the noise of the street and the crowing of the crowd like a time machine take you a hundred years ago. In those days, where the craft was the basis for life. http://ozarot.net/
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Treasures in the Walls Museum
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
The interior of houses, inlaid wooden furniture, mirrors in wooden frames decorated with Perlmutter, and ornamented lamps show the unique Damask style and fashion. It seems that luxurious display cases, cabinets, huge watches, and festive dishes, as well as candlesticks, items with biblical motifs and ornaments, to came to us from ancient times. But all of these things were either produced in Israel in the middle of the twentieth century or were brought from Europe. The possession of these things gave the people of that time a sense of stability, wealth, luxury along with traditional values and the continuity of generations. Stylish and solid things occupied people of that time as today IT devices do it.
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Treasures in the Walls Museum
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
Hospitality was an essential element of the life of that time. Hospitality could not have happened without a coffee ceremony. Coffee beans were roasted on wood charcoal in a special small iron pan. The peculiarity of this pan is that it is flat. Throwing grains and picking them up with a flat pan without them falling to the ground requires a lot of skill and practice. This trick allows the owner of the house to show his skill, and the guest to evaluate his skill. The fried grains were ground in a mortar. Grinding grains by hand in a mortar is the second and final stage of showing mastery. One of the important household items of the time was matches. Today it is difficult to meet a man who would have matches with him. At that time, everyone had matches, like today everyone has a cell phone. The matchmaking company was founded in Aco in 1923. She is called Nur. She works to this day.
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Treasures in the Walls Museum
Treasures in the Walls Museum
Children's toys, toiletries, fountain pens, disk phones - all this causes curiosity to modern people. But more recently, these items did not cause any surprise. Usually, when talking about antiques, we begin to think about ancient Rome or the monarchies of Europe. But all this was not so long ago, and if at first, these halls resemble the cave of Aladin, then it seems that Aladin lived not long ago and may now be leaving the next room.
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Burj El Komandor, walls of Acre
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
The tower in which the museum is located connects the external and internal moat. Under it passes a tunnel eighty meters long connecting these ditches. Defencing the city, soldiers of the Jazar army could move from the outer to the inner moat through the tunnel. These maneuvres were sheltered by the artillery platform at the eastern tip of Burj El Komandor (the commander’s citadel). The small garden named after the Strauss family has been created on the site of guns. Hilda and Richard Strauss emigrated from Nazi Germany to English Palestine in the thirties. They settled in Nahariya and built a cowshed. Selling milk did not work, and Hilda tried to make and sell cheeses. The success of the Strauss cheese factory laid the foundation for the country's largest dairy company. Strauss family created significant impact and contributed to the development of the country, job creation, their commitment to the north of the country, the cities of Nahariya and Acre are very appreciated by locals. As the remembrance of the great battle between the army of Napoleon and Jazzar forces a small cannon is preserved here. Many names this cannon the "Napoleonthcik" - the little Napoleon.
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Burj El Komandor, cannons ramp, walls of Acre
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
We are standing at the former cannons ramp, the vibe of the late autumn envelop the leaves, empty tables surfaces, and chairs and one very strange item made from the white stone. It is very hard to say when this item served as a part of the column, but it is easy to show how it was used for agriculture needs. Imagine this stone as a wheel rolling on the ground and you immediately understand how it was used to crush olives. Peasants collected the crushed olives to the huge bags made from thatch and placed them under the press to get olive oil.
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Siege of Acre by Napoleon
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
We are leaving the museum in Burj Al Komander and going towards the fortified walls of Acre as much as towards the biggest defeat of the most significant commander in the history of humanity. The siege of Acre lasted 54 days after the Napoleon army surrounded the city on the 20th of mars 1799. Four days before the siege English admiral Smith commanding only two ships succeeded capture eight french military ships leaved from Eugipt with big siege cannons onboard. This event so inspired Ahmad al Jazzar that the french envoy, which was sent by Napoleon to accept the surrender of the city, was beheaded. Captured siege cannons were used against Napoleon. The siege lasted moreover, and Napoleon soldiers suffered from a lack of food and military equipment.
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Siege cannons of Acre
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
After several unsuccessful attempts to destroy the wall, Napoleon concluded that he needs more powerful cannons and decided to bring them with the help of general Perrie's ships. But his fleet controlled the area between Rhodes and Acre to prevent ottomans troops from the island come to Acre. At the same time, the Ottoman ruler of Damascus marched with his army towards Acre and sieged the small fortress on mount Tabor, where French soldiers guarded the strategic passage in the valley. In Acre, after several attempts to leave the besieged city by some garrisons and Jazzar himself, the Jazzar advisor, and his right hand, the noble Jew from Acre, Haim Farhi, organized some arrangements that very surprised the attackers. All involved sides were prepared for the next stage.
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City Wall Watchtowers
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
With the help of big siege cannons and mines, french troops succeeded in destroying the central tower and penetrate the city. They were shocked to discover the new wall build in the town precisely behind the place where the outer wall was destroyed. This surprise was prepared by the smartness and ability of Haim Parhi. Nevertheless, Napoleon was decisive in conquering the city even in street battles. From 25th April till 7th May 1799, the number of killed measured in hundreds and the amount of injured in thousands. In the early morning of the 7th of May ottoman fleet from Rhodes was observed sailing towards the port of Acre. Napoleon encouraged his commanders to give the last devastating fight before the Rodos fleet enter the harbor. But they didn't succeed in making more than they could. French soldiers remained in their positions.
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City Wall Watchtowers
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
Considering the situation in France, the losses in battles, and the demoralization of troops, Napoleon decided to retreat. The retreat was masked under six days non stop cannons fire that destroyed all the fortifications of the mosque and the palace of Jazzar. The modern "White market" area and completely devasted place in the close vicinity of the fortified walls shows the scale of damage. Injured soldiers came to Jaffa, leaving some people in the Carmelite monastery in Haifa. Jazzar massacred them a few days later.
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City Wall Watchtowers
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
Having survived his most terrible war, Jazar began the construction of the unconquerable fortifications that we see today. Experienced Ottoman empire officers who received military education in Europe took part in the planning of the construction. Dry moat, underground passages, wall towers, wide ramps, and artillery fortifications were built. But no one else attacked Acre with such frenzy as Napoleon. World history remembers this battle as an unsuccessful episode in the glorious career of the great commander. Jazzar became the Great only in the eyes of locals. They feared him, worshiped him, praised him and hated him.
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He-Hafir Garden
He-Hafir Garden
But what has Napoleon to say about the battle of Acra? He sieged Acra with 13000 soldiers 500 of them were killed, 2500 were injured, 700 of them died in hospitals, and 800 returned to duty. One of the dead was captain Croisier - adjutant of Napoleon.
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He-Hafir Garden
He-Hafir Garden
According to Napoleon statistics, about 15,000 people arrived in the besieged Acre, and only 5,000 remained at the end of the siege. Thus, the Turks lost 10,000 killed, wounded, and captured.
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He-Hafir Garden
He-Hafir Garden
What Napoleon wanted by conquering Acre? He told it very clear: If Acre had been taken, the French army would have rushed to Damascus and Aleppo and in an instant would have been on the Euphrates river ... Six hundred thousand people (Christians) would have joined us, and who knows what would come of it? I would conquer Constantinople and India; I would change the face of the world!
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Akkotel
Akkotel
There is only one gate in the eastern wall of Acre. They have always existed here. Near the gates in the fortified wall were barracks. Today it is one of the small boutique hotels in the city.
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Akko Gate Hostel
Akko Gate Hostel
Along the street going into the city from the land gate, expensive multi-story buildings were built. The remains of this beautiful Turkish architecture are still impressive.
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Flooka restaurant
Uploaded by Evgeny Praisman
Away from the crowd of tourists, is the street, which considered by locals the main street of the city. There is Flooka restaurant one hundred meters from the gate. Early in the morning, the chef of this restaurant, Said Shami, leaves for the port to buy a catch of fishermen directly from the boat. Everything is simple. Fresh fish. Strong hands of the fisherman who took it out of the water, the good hand of the chef, who cleaned the fish and fried it a little, and the grateful hand of the eater, which squeezed lemon on the fish and ended the story with an appetite.
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alBurj Mosque
alBurj Mosque
Steps lead to the fortress wall facing the sea. For Muslim Arabs, the sea has been a threat since the time of the Crusaders. All cities in the Arab Mediterranean were fenced off the sea. The first mosque appeared here in the thirteenth century. The mosque was a tower incorporated in the sea walls and called Burj al-Sultan. This mosque is also known as Al-Bahr Mosque (the Sea Mosque).
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alBurj Mosque
alBurj Mosque
Life goes on the fortified wall. People build houses, live in poverty, but in a good neighborship, they wash clothes and dry together, and the boys play a ball, sometimes breaking windows.
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alBurj Mosque
alBurj Mosque
From this point from the southern fortified city wall, you can see the arches of the White Bazaar, the Green Dome of the Jazar Mosque, and in the distance a massive fortress - the eternal palace of the rulers of Acre from the time of the Crusaders.
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Acre city bazaar
Acre city bazaar
We are completing a walk along the walls of Acre. Only in this place can they tell their great story. In the depths of the city goes market street. This is another story and another walk.
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