The Knight's Halls
Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
273Trip End Oct 08, 2008
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We caught a bus here from Nazareth and got dropped off in the old city. The town is on a spur of land that juts into the sea. It is surrounded by sea walls and water on three sides. The peninsula connecting it to the mainland is protected by a powerful wall. It is a predominately Arab enclave in Israel, and they left the old city to itself and built a new one outside the walls.
We bought a combination ticket that gave us access to some of the sites in Akko, picked up an audio guide, and entered the citadel. The most impressive feature of this place were the Knight's Hall, a series of vaulted halls that were uncovered 8m below street level. They served as the headquarters of the Knight's Hospitallers. The halls were appropriately dark and gloomy, and it was easy to imagine dirty Knights gathered to plan the attack on Jerusalem. Some halls were surprisingly beautiful, with large graceful pillars and high arks. The audio guide was informative but it was difficult to find the numbers. Some had been removed. We crawled through a small, ancient sewage tunnel (good fun), to emerge into the old market. We visited a small art-photography exhibit, and then wandered into the souq trying to figure out where our audio guide was telling us to go. We found the synagogue it was babbling about but it was closed, so we proceeded on to the Templar Crusader Tunnel. This was the best part. This was a large underground passageway that connected the Templar headquarters with the Port. Very fun.
We emerged at the harbor and Erin got to see the beautiful Mediterranean for the first time. We walked along the sea walls, and watched some kids leaping from the high walls. From here we made it to the land walls, which gave a view over the city. Napoleon tried to take this city and was thrown back. It was a very historic little town and a great daytrip. It showcases yet another aspect of the amazing history of this region.