Postcard from Israel – Acco

Our first virtual trip in this series took us to the market in the old city of Acco, but there is much more to see in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, if it has been more than a couple of years since your last visit, the new attractions recently opened to the public make a return trip very worthwhile. 

Underneath the narrow alleys of the Ottoman town, with its beautiful mosques and khans (caravanserai), one can now explore a Crusader-era escape tunnel running the 350 meters from the Templar fortress in the east of the Old City to the harbor. Another Crusader order – the Hospitallers – built an impressive fortress in the north-western part of the city and its halls, refectory, courtyards, dungeons, secret passageways and even latrines remain remarkably intact. 

The Sugar Bowls Hall provides evidence of the Hospitallers’ involvement in the lucrative export of cane sugar to Western Europe – a product unknown there until the Crusaders developed and improved the existing indigenous sugar-cane production which they came across for the first time upon their arrival in the holy land.  They then began exporting sugar back to their home countries, where – despite its high cost – it rapidly became very fashionable.  

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