Virtually across the street from the Mosque of Ahmed al Jezzar Pasha is the Subterranean Crusader City. In the entrance is a tourism information kiosk, where you can buy a city map and an entrance ticket.
The Crusaders built their fortified city atop what was left of the Roman city. The Ottomans, and especially Ahmed al Jezzar Pasha, built their city on top of the largely intact buildings of the Crusaders. In Ottoman times, the cavernous chambers were used as a caravansary until Napoleon's attack. In preparation for the defense of his city, Al-Jezzar Pasha ordered the walls heightened, and the Crusader rooms partially filled with sand and dirt, to better support the walls. Today, you get a good look at how the Crusaders lived and worked in the late 1100s.
The bottom of the hall was built by the Crusaders, the top by the Ottomans. The next hall you enter once held an illegal (in Muslim times) wine press. Next comes the courtyard, with the 38m-high (125-ft.) walls of Akko Citadel, which was used by the British as a prison during the mandate and now houses the Museum of Heroism .
Beyond the courtyard, through a huge Ottoman gate, are the Knights' Halls, once occupied by the Knights Hospitalers of Saint John. In the ceiling of the hall, a patch of concrete marks the spot where Jewish underground members, imprisoned by the British in the citadel (directly above the hall), attempted to break out.
Back through the courtyard, you now head for the Grand Maneir, or center of government, in the Crusader City. Past it, through a narrow passage, is the Crypt, so named only because of its present depth; it was actually the knights' refectory, or dining hall. Beyond the refectory is a longer tunnel leading to the Post (El-Posta), a series of rooms and a courtyard similar to a caravansary, the precise use of which is not known.
- © Frommer's 2013
Ask a local about Subterranean Crusader City
Ask Akko Locals about Subterranean Crusader City
- Across from Jezzar Pasha Mosque
- Sun-Thurs 8:30am-6pm; Fri 8:30am-2pm; Sat 9am-5pm. Closings are 1 hr. earlier in winter
- User Rating