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Acre, Israel

Acre, Israel

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Acre is a city in the Western Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 region of northern
North District (Israel)
The Northern District is one of Israel's six administrative districts. The Northern District has a land area of 4,478 km², which increases to 4,638  km² when both land and water are included...

 Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country.

Historically, it was a strategic coastal link to the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

. Acre is the holiest city of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

. In 2009, the population was 46,300. Acre is a mixed city, 72 percent Jewish and 28 percent Arab. The mayor is Shimon Lankri, who was re-elected in 2011.

Etymology


The source of the name Akko is unknown, but is apparently not Semitic. The Egyptians used it as long ago as the second millennium BCE, but as it appears in the hieroglyphics as merely two consonants, its pronunciation is unknown.

In the Amarna letters
Amarna letters
The Amarna letters are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom...

, written in Akkadian, the letter "H" is used to signify the guttural Hebrew letters alef-heh-chet-ayin, and therefore it was possible to write the name of the city as if it were "Haca" or "Aca". Had the name not been preserved, we would not have been able to identify it with certainty with the name that appears in hieroglyphics. In Assyrian the name has been preserved with the spelling "AKK".

An ancient Hebrew legend tells that the sea flooded the world and when it reached the shore of Acre it stopped short, as is written in the Book of Job (38:11) “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.” In the legend, the Hebrew words “Ad po” [Hitherto] become “Ad ko,” and, hence, Akko [Acre].

The city was renamed Ptolemais during the Hellenistic and later Roman-Byzantine period, but was restored to "Akka" following the Muslim conquest.

Antiquity


Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in Israel. The name Aak, which appears on the tribute-lists of Thutmose III
Thutmose III
Thutmose III was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. During the first twenty-two years of Thutmose's reign he was co-regent with his stepmother, Hatshepsut, who was named the pharaoh...

 (c. 16th century BC), may be a reference to Acre. The Amarna letters
Amarna letters
The Amarna letters are an archive of correspondence on clay tablets, mostly diplomatic, between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru during the New Kingdom...

 also mention a place named Akka, as well as the Execration texts
Execration Texts
Execration texts, also referred to as Proscription Lists, are ancient Egyptian hieratic texts, listing enemies of the Pharaoh, most often enemies of the Egyptian state or troublesome foreign neighbors. The texts were most often written upon statuettes of bound foreigners, bowls, or blocks of clay...

, that pre-date them. In the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, (Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

 1:31), Akko is one of the places from which the Israelites did not drive out the Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

ites. It is later described in the territory of the tribe of Asher
Asher
Asher , in the Book of Genesis, is the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, and the founder of the Tribe of Asher.-Name:The text of the Torah argues that the name of Asher means happy/blessing, implying a derivation from the Hebrew term osher ; the Torah actually presents this in two variations—beoshri...

 and according to Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

, was ruled by one of Solomon
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

's provincial governors. Throughout Israelite rule, it was politically and culturally affiliated with Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

. Around 725 BC, Akko joined Sidon
Sidon
Sidon or Saïda is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km north of Tyre and 40 km south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah...

 and Tyre in a revolt against Shalmaneser V
Shalmaneser V
Shalmaneser V was king of Assyria from 727 to 722 BC. He first appears as governor of Zimirra in Phoenicia in the reign of his father, Tiglath-Pileser III....

.

Greek and Roman periods


Greek historians refer to the city as Ake, meaning "cure." According to the Greek myth, Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

 found curative herbs here to heal his wounds. Josephus calls it Akre. The name was changed to Antiochia Ptolemais shortly after Alexander the Great's conquest, and then to Ptolemais, probably by Ptolemy Soter
Ptolemaic dynasty
The Ptolemaic dynasty, was a Macedonian Greek royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt during the Hellenistic period. Their rule lasted for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC...

, after the partition of the kingdom of Alexander the Great.

Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 refers to the city as once a rendezvous for the Persians in their expeditions against Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. About 165 BC Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
Judah Maccabee was a Kohen and a son of the Jewish priest Mattathias...

 defeated the Seleucids in several battles in Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

, and drove them into Ptolemais. About 153 BC Alexander Balas
Alexander Balas
Alexander Balas , ruler of the Greek Seleucid kingdom 150-146 BC, was a native of Smyrna of humble origin, but gave himself out to be the son of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Laodice IV and heir to the Seleucid throne...

, son of Antiochus Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ruled the Seleucid Empire from 175 BC until his death in 164 BC. He was a son of King Antiochus III the Great. His original name was Mithridates; he assumed the name Antiochus after he ascended the throne....

, contesting the Seleucid crown with Demetrius
Demetrius
Demetrius, also spelled as Demetrios, Dimitrios, Demitri, and Dimitri , is a male given name.Demetrius and its variations may refer to the following:...

, seized the city, which opened its gates to him. Demetrius offered many bribes to the Maccabees
Maccabees
The Maccabees were a Jewish rebel army who took control of Judea, which had been a client state of the Seleucid Empire. They founded the Hasmonean dynasty, which ruled from 164 BCE to 63 BCE, reasserting the Jewish religion, expanding the boundaries of the Land of Israel and reducing the influence...

 to obtain Jewish support against his rival, including the revenues of Ptolemais for the benefit of the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

, but in vain. Jonathan Maccabaeus
Jonathan Maccabaeus
Jonathan Apphus was leader of the Hasmonean Dynasty of Judea from 161 to 143 BCE. The name Apphus could mean = "the dissembler", "the Wary", or "the diplomat", in allusion to a trait prominent in him -Leader of the Jews:...

 threw in his lot with Alexander, and in 150 BC he was received by him with great honour in Ptolemais. Some years later, however, Tryphon, an officer of the Seleucids, who had grown suspicious of the Maccabees, enticed Jonathan into Ptolemais and there treacherously took him prisoner.

The city was captured by Alexander Jannaeus
Alexander Jannaeus
Alexander Jannaeus was king of Judea from 103 BC to 76 BC. The son of John Hyrcanus, he inherited the throne from his brother Aristobulus I, and appears to have married his brother's widow, Shlomtzion or "Shelomit", also known as Salome Alexandra, according to the Biblical law of Yibbum...

, Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Tigranes II of Armenia
Tigranes the Great
Tigranes the Great was emperor of Armenia under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic. He was a member of the Artaxiad Royal House...

. Here Herod
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

 built a gymnasium
Gymnasium (ancient Greece)
The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term gymnós meaning "naked". Athletes competed in the nude, a practice said to...

, and here the Jews met Petronius, sent to set up statues of the emperor in the Temple
Temple
A temple is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A templum constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word "template," a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out...

, and persuaded him to turn back. St Paul spent a day in Ptolemais (Acts 21:7). A Roman colonia
Colonia (Roman)
A Roman colonia was originally a Roman outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of Roman city.-History:...

 was established at the city, Colonia Claudii Cæsaris.After the permanent division of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 in 395 CE, Akko was administered by the Eastern (later Byzantine) Empire.

Arab and Crusader periods


Following the defeat of the Byzantine army
Byzantine army
The Byzantine army was the primary military body of the Byzantine armed forces, serving alongside the Byzantine navy. A direct descendant of the Roman army, the Byzantine army maintained a similar level of discipline, strategic prowess and organization...

 of Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

 by the Muslim army of Khalid ibn al-Walid
Khalid ibn al-Walid
Khālid ibn al-Walīd also known as Sayf Allāh al-Maslūl , was a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He is noted for his military tactics and prowess, commanding the forces of Medina and those of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate; Abu Bakr and Umar...

 in the Battle of Yarmouk
Battle of Yarmouk
The Battle of Yarmouk was a major battle between the Muslim Arab forces of the Rashidun Caliphate and the armies of the East Roman-Byzantine Empire. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, near the Yarmouk River, along what is today the border...

, and the capitulation of the Christian city of Jerusalem to the Caliph Umar
Umar
`Umar ibn al-Khattāb c. 2 November , was a leading companion and adviser to the Islamic prophet Muhammad who later became the second Muslim Caliph after Muhammad's death....

, Acre came under the rule of the Arab caliphate
Rashidun Caliphate
The Rashidun Caliphate , comprising the first four caliphs in Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death in 632, Year 10 A.H.. At its height, the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant, Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and Central Asia...

 beginning in 638. The Arab conquest brought a revival to the town of Acre, and it served as the main port of Palestine through the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates that followed, and through Crusader rule into the 13th century. It was captured by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem
Baldwin I of Jerusalem, formerly Baldwin I of Edessa, born Baldwin of Boulogne , 1058? – 2 April 1118, was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, who became the first Count of Edessa and then the second ruler and first titled King of Jerusalem...

 in 1104 in the First Crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

 and the Crusaders also made the town their chief port in Palestine. Around 1170 it became the main port of the eastern Mediterranean, and the kingdom of Jerusalem was regarded in the west as enormously wealthy above all because of Acre. According to an English contemporary, it provided more for the Crusader crown than the total revenues of the king of England. It was re-taken by Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

 in 1187, and unexpectedly besieged by Guy of Lusignan
Guy of Lusignan
Guy of Lusignan was a Poitevin knight, son of Hugh VIII of the prominent Lusignan dynasty. He was king of the crusader state of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1192 by right of marriage to Sibylla of Jerusalem, and of Cyprus from 1192 to 1194...

 reinforced by Pisan naval
Republic of Pisa
The Republic of Pisa was a de facto independent state centered on the Tuscan city of Pisa during the late tenth and eleventh centuries. It rose to become an economic powerhouse, a commercial center whose merchants dominated Mediterranean and Italian trade for a century before being surpassed and...

 and ground forces
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

 at first, in August 1189. But it was not captured until July 1191 by Richard I of England
Richard I of England
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes, and Overlord of Brittany at various times during the same period...

, Philip of France, Leopold of Austria, the spearhead Swabian and German armies and the rest of the crusader's army. It then became the capital of the remnant of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 in 1192. In 1229 it was placed under the control of the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

. The Crusaders called the city "Acre" or "Saint-Jean d'Acre" since they mistakenly identified it with the Philistine
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

 city of Ekron
Ekron
The city of Ekron , was one of the five cities of the famed Philistine pentapolis, located in southwestern Canaan. Ekron lies 35 kilometers west of Jerusalem, and 18 kilometers north of ancient Gath, on the eastern edge of Israel's coastal plain.-History:...

, in northern Philistia
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

, now southern Israel. It was the final stronghold of the Crusader state, and fell to the Mameluks
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 in a bloody siege in 1291
Siege of Acre (1291)
The Siege of Acre took place in 1291 and resulted in the loss of the Crusader-controlled city of Acre to the Muslims. It is considered one of the most important battles of the time period. Although the crusading movement continued for several more centuries, the capture of the city marked the end...

.

Ottoman period



The Ottomans
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 under Sultan Selim I
Selim I
Selim I, Yavuz Sultân Selim Khan, Hâdim-ül Haramain-ish Sharifain , nicknamed Yavuz "the Stern" or "the Steadfast", but often rendered in English as "the Grim" , was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to...

 captured the city in 1517, after which it fell into almost total decay. English academic Henry Maundrell
Henry Maundrell
Henry Maundrell was an academic at Oxford University and later a Church of England clergyman who served from 20 December 1695 as chaplain to the Levant Company in Syria. His Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem at Easter A.D...

 in 1697 found it a ruin, save for a khan (caravanserai
Caravanserai
A caravanserai, or khan, also known as caravansary, caravansera, or caravansara in English was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day's journey...

) occupied by some French merchants, a mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 and a few poor cottages.

Towards the end of the 18th century it revived under the rule of Dhaher al-Omar, the local sheikh. His successor, Jezzar Pasha
Jezzar Pasha
Ahmed al-Jazzar was the Ottoman ruler of Acre and the Galilee from 1775 until his death.-Biography:...

, governor of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, improved and fortified it, but by heavy imposts secured for himself all the benefits derived from his improvements. About 1780 Jezzar peremptorily banished the French trading colony, in spite of protests from the French government, and refused to receive a consul.

In 1799 Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

, in pursuance of his scheme for raising a Syrian rebellion against Turkish domination, appeared before Acre, but after a siege of two months (March–May) was repulsed by the Turks, aided by Sir Sidney Smith and a force of British sailors. Having lost his siege cannons to Smith, Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 attempted to lay siege to the walled city defended by Ottoman troops on March 20, 1799, using only his infantry and small-calibre cannons, a strategy which failed, leading to his retreat two months later on May 21.

Jezzar was succeeded on his death by his son Suleiman Pasha, under whose milder rule the town advanced in prosperity till his death in 1819. After his death, Haim Farhi
Haim Farhi
Haim Farhi , was an adviser to the governors of the Galilee in the days of the Ottoman Empire. Among the Jews he was known as Hakham Haim, because of his Talmudic learning....

, who was his adviser, paid a huge sum in bribes to assure that Abdullah Pasha (son of Ali Pasha, the deputy of Suleiman Pasha), whom he had known from youth, will be appointed as ruler. Abdullah Pasha ruled Acre until 1831, when Ibrahim Pasha
Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha was the eldest son of Muhammad Ali, the Wāli and unrecognised Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. He served as a general in the Egyptian army that his father established during his reign, taking his first command of Egyptian forces was when he was merely a teenager...

 besieged and reduced the town and destroyed its buildings. During the Oriental Crisis of 1840
Oriental Crisis of 1840
The Oriental Crisis of 1840 was an armed conflict in the eastern Mediterranean between Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. It was triggered by Wāli Muhammad Ali Pasha's aims to establish a personal empire in the Ottoman province of Egypt.-Origins of the conflict:...

 it was bombarded on November 4, 1840 by the allied British, Austrian and French squadrons, and in the following year restored to Turkish rule.

British Mandate


At the beginning of the Mandate period, in 1922, Acre had about 6,500 residents: 4883 of whom Muslim, 1344 Christian, 115 Baha’i, and 78 Jewish. The British Mandate government reconstructed Acre and its economic situation improved. The 1931 Mandate census counted 7,897 people in Acre. In 1946 Acre’s population numbered around 13,000.

During the pogrom of 1929, Arabs, led by Sheikh Ass’ad Shukairy, demolished the ancient synagogue in Acre’s old city. During the Arab revolt in 1936–1939, Acre’s Arab residents were very active against the British and the Jewish settlements in Western Galilee. This caused the Jews to leave Acre.

Acre’s fort was converted into a jail, where members of the Jewish underground were held during their struggle against the British, among them Zeev Jabotinski, Shlomo ben Yossef, and Dov Grunner. Grunner and ben Yossef were executed there. Other Jewish inmates were freed by members of the Irgun, who broke into the jail on May 4, 1947 and succeeded in releasing Jewish underground movement activists. Over 200 Arab inmates also escaped.

In the 1947 UN Partition Plan, Acre was designated part of a future Arab state
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

. Before the Arab invasion into Palestine
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 broke out, Acre’s Arabs attacked neighbouring Jewish settlements and Jewish transportation. On March 18, 1948, Arabs from Acre murdered Jewish employees of the electricity company who were repairing the damaged lines near the city.

During the war of 1948
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, Acre was besieged by Israeli forces. A typhoid fever
Typhoid fever
Typhoid fever, also known as Typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica, serovar Typhi...

 outbreak occurred in Acre at this time. Egypt claimed that the Haganah used typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 as a biological weapon
Biological warfare
Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war...

 against the inhabitants, though no evidence was forwarded in favour of the claim. Brigadier Beveridge, chief of the British medical services, proclaimed at the time that "Nothing like that ever happened in Palestine". According to Ilan Pappé
Ilan Pappé
Ilan Pappé is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK, director of the university's European Centre for Palestine Studies, co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies, and political activist...

, investigation by Beveridge, Colonel Bonnet of the British army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and delegates of the Red Cross
Red Cross (disambiguation)
The name Red Cross generally refers to the humanitarian movement, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which is composed of* International Committee of the Red Cross,* International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,...

 concluded that the infection was caused by water-borne sources. Israel denies it has ever used biological weapons.

State of Israel


Acre was captured by Israel on May 17, 1948, displacing about three-quarters of the Arab population of the city (13,510 of 17,395). Throughout the 1950s many Jewish neighbourhoods were established at the northern and eastern parts of the city, as it became a development town
Development town
Development town is a term used to refer to the new settlements that were built in Israel during the 1950s in order to provide permanent housing to a large influx of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, Holocaust survivors from Europe and new immigrants , who arrived to the newly established State...

, designated to absorb numerous Jewish immigrants, largely Jews from Morocco. The old city of Akko remained largely Arab Muslim (including several Bedouin families), with Arab Christian neighbourhood in close proximity. The city also attracted many Bahai worshippers, some of whom became permanent residents in the city, where the Bahai Mansion of Bahjí
Mansion of Bahjí
The Mansion of Bahjí is a term used to describe a summer house in Acre, Israel, where Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith died in 1892. His shrine is located next to this house...

 is located.

In the 1990s the city absorbed thousands of Jews, who immigrated from the Soviet Union and later from Russia and Ukraine. Within several years, however, the population balance between Jews and Arabs shifted backwards, as northern neighbourhoods were abandoned by many of its Jewish residents in favor of new housing projects in nearby Nahariya, while many Muslim Arabs moved in (largely coming from nearby Arab villages). Nevertheless, the city still has a clear Jewish majority (72 percent).

Ethnic tensions erupted in the city on October 8, 2008 after an Arab citizen drove through a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood during Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

, leading to five days of violence.

In 2009, the population of Acre reached 46,300. The current mayor Shimon Lankri was re-elected in 2011.

Demography



According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 46,300 citizens in Acre. Acre's population is mixed with Jews, Muslims and Christians, with small minorities of Druzes and Baha'i. Jews are 67.1% of the city's population, Muslim Arabs are 25.3% of the city's population, Christian Arabs are 2.4% of the city's population and other citizens make up 5.2% of the city's population.

According to the Israeli Central Office of Statistics, 95% of the residents in the Old City are Arab. Only about 15 percent of the current Arab population in the city descends from families who lived there before 1948. Schools for Arab citizens have been underfunded. In 1999, there were 22 schools in Acre with an enrollment of 15,000 children. In 2000 there was only one Arab elementary school
Primary education
A primary school is an institution in which children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as primary or elementary education. Primary school is the preferred term in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth Nations, and in most publications of the United Nations Educational,...

 in the city.

Education and culture


The Sir Charles Clore Jewish-Arab Community Center in the Wolfson neighborhood runs youth clubs and programs for Jewish and Arab children. In 1990, Mohammed Faheli, an Arab resident of Acre, founded the Acre Jewish-Arab association, which originally operated out of two bomb shelters. In 1993, Dame Vivien Duffield
Vivien Duffield
Dame Vivien Duffield, DBE , is an English philanthropist.-Career:The daughter of millionaire businessman Sir Charles Clore and his wife, Lady Francine, Vivien Louise Duffield was educated at the Lycée Français, Heathfield School and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University where she read languages...

 of the Clore Foundation donated funds for a new building. Among the programs offered is Peace Child Israel, which employs theater and the arts to teach coexistence. The participants, Jews and Arabs, spend two months studying conflict resolution and then work together to produce an original theatrical performance that addresses the issues they have explored. Another program is Patriots of Acre, a community responsibility and youth tourism program that teaches children to become ambassadors for their city. In the summer, the center runs an Arab-Jewish summer camp for 120 disadvantaged children aged 5–11. Some 1,000 children take part in the Acre Center's youth club and youth programming every week. Adult education programs have been developed for Arab women interested in completing their high school education and acquiring computer skills to prepare for joining the workforce. The center also offers parenting courses, and music and dance classes.

Landmarks


Acre's Old City has been designated by UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 as a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

. Since the 1990s, large-scale archeological excavations have been undertaken and efforts are being made to preserve ancient sites. In 2009, renovations were planned for Khan al-Omadan, the Inn of the Columns", the largest of several Ottoman inns still standing in Acre. It was built near the port at the end of the 18th century by Ahmed Pasha al-Jazzar
Jezzar Pasha
Ahmed al-Jazzar was the Ottoman ruler of Acre and the Galilee from 1775 until his death.-Biography:...

. Merchants who arrived at the port would unload their wares on the first floor and sleep in lodgings on the second floor. In 1906, a clocktower was added over the main entrance marking the 25th anniversary of the reign of the Turkish sultan, Abdul Hamid II.

City walls



In 1750, Daher El-Omar, the ruler of Acre, utilized the remnants of the Crusader
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 walls as a foundation for his walls. Two gates were set in the wall, the "land gate" in the eastern wall, and the "sea gate" in the southern wall. The walls were reinforced between 1775 and 1799 by Jezzar Pasha
Jezzar Pasha
Ahmed al-Jazzar was the Ottoman ruler of Acre and the Galilee from 1775 until his death.-Biography:...

 and survived Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

's siege. The wall was thin: its height was 10 to 13 metres (33 to 43 feet) and its thickness only one metre (3 ft). A heavy land defense wall
Defensive wall
A defensive wall is a fortification used to protect a city or settlement from potential aggressors. In ancient to modern times, they were used to enclose settlements...

 was built north and east to the city in 1800–1814 by Jezzar Pasha
Jezzar Pasha
Ahmed al-Jazzar was the Ottoman ruler of Acre and the Galilee from 1775 until his death.-Biography:...

 and his Jewish advisor Haim Farhi
Haim Farhi
Haim Farhi , was an adviser to the governors of the Galilee in the days of the Ottoman Empire. Among the Jews he was known as Hakham Haim, because of his Talmudic learning....

. It consists of a modern counter artillery fortification
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

 which includes a thick defensive wall
Defensive wall
A defensive wall is a fortification used to protect a city or settlement from potential aggressors. In ancient to modern times, they were used to enclose settlements...

, a dry moat
Moat
A moat is a deep, broad ditch, either dry or filled with water, that surrounds a castle, other building or town, historically to provide it with a preliminary line of defence. In some places moats evolved into more extensive water defences, including natural or artificial lakes, dams and sluices...

, cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

 outposts and three burges (large defensive towers). Since then, no major modifications have taken place. The sea wall, which remains mostly complete, is the original El-Omar's wall that was reinforced by Jezzar Pasha. In 1910 two additional gates were set in the walls, one in the northern wall and one in the north-western corner of the city. In 1912 the Acre lighthouse
Akko Light
Akko Light or Acre Light, is an active lighthouse in the port of Acre, Israel. It is located on the South-West corner of the city's ancient walls, at what is believed to be the former site of an Ottoman Burj-El-Sanjak .-History:...

 was built on the south-western corner of the walls.

Jezzar Pasha Mosque


The Mosque of Jezzar Pasha
Jezzar Pasha Mosque
The Jezzar Pasha Mosque , also known as the white mosque, is located on al-Jezzar Street, inside the walls of the old city of Acre, overlooking the eastern Mediterranean Sea.-History:...

 was built in 1781. Jezzar Pasha
Jezzar Pasha
Ahmed al-Jazzar was the Ottoman ruler of Acre and the Galilee from 1775 until his death.-Biography:...

 and his successor Suleiman Pasha
Suleiman Pasha
Suleiman Pasha was a French-born Egyptian commander...

, are both buried in a small graveyard adjacent to the mosque. In a shrine on the second level of the mosque, a single hair from the prophet Mohammed's beard is kept and shown on special ceremonial occasions.

Citadel of Acre


The current building which constitutes the citadel of Acre is an Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 fortification, built on the foundation of the Hospitallerian
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 citadel. The citadel was part of the city's defensive formation, reinforcing the northern wall. During the 20th century the citadel
Citadel
A citadel is a fortress for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle. The term derives from the same Latin root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen....

 was used mainly as a prison
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

 and as the site for a gallows
Gallows
A gallows is a frame, typically wooden, used for execution by hanging, or by means to torture before execution, as was used when being hanged, drawn and quartered...

. During the British mandate period, activists of Jewish Zionist resistance movement
Resistance movement
A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

s were held prisoner there; some were executed there.

Hamam al-Basha



Built in 1795 by Jezzar Pasha, Acre's hammam has a series of hot rooms and a hexagonal steam room with a marble fountain. It was used by the Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 as a bridge to break into the citadel's prison. The bathhouse kept functioning until 1950.

Knights' Halls



Under the citadel and prison of Acre, archaeological excavations revealed a complex of halls, which was built and used by the Hospitallers Knights
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

. This complex was a part of the Hospitallers' citadel, which was combined in the northern wall of Acre. The complex includes six semi-joined halls, one recently excavated large hall, a dungeon, a dining room
Dining room
A dining room is a room for consuming food. In modern times it is usually adjacent to the kitchen for convenience in serving, although in medieval times it was often on an entirely different floor level...

 and remains of an ancient Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 church. Medieval European remains include the Church of Saint George
Saint George
Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic , Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox...

 and adjacent houses at the Genovese Square (called Kikar ha-Genovezim or Kikar Genoa in Hebrew). There were also residential quarters and marketplaces run by merchants from Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 and Amalfi
Amalfi
Amalfi is a town and comune in the province of Salerno, in the region of Campania, Italy, on the Gulf of Salerno, c. 35 km southeast of Naples. It lies at the mouth of a deep ravine, at the foot of Monte Cerreto , surrounded by dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery...

 in Crusader
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 and medieval Acre.

Bahá'í holy places



There are many Bahá'í
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 holy places in and around Acre. They originate from Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

's imprisonment in the Citadel during Ottoman Rule. The final years of Bahá'u'lláh's life were spent in the Mansion of Bahjí
Mansion of Bahjí
The Mansion of Bahjí is a term used to describe a summer house in Acre, Israel, where Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith died in 1892. His shrine is located next to this house...

, just outside Acre, even though he was still formally a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire. Bahá'u'lláh died on May 29, 1892 in Bahjí, and his shrine
Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh
The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, located in Bahjí near Acre, Israel, is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and represents their Qiblih, or direction of prayer...

 is the most holy place
Most Holy Place
This article provides a comprehensive list of significant religious sites and places of spiritual importance throughout the world.-Bahá'í faith:...

 for Bahá'ís — their Qiblih
Qiblih
In the Bahá'í Faith the Qiblih is the location that Bahá'ís should face when saying their daily obligatory prayers, and is fixed at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, near `Akká, in present day Israel; approximately at ....

, the location they face when saying their daily prayers. It contains the remains of Bahá'u'lláh and is near the spot where he died in the Mansion of Bahjí. Other Bahá'í sites in Acre are the House of `Abbúd (where Bahá'u'lláh and his family resided) and the House of `Abdu'lláh Páshá (where later 'Abdu'l-Bahá resided with his family), and the Garden of Ridván where he spent the end of his life. In 2008, the Bahai holy places
Bahá'í World Centre buildings
The Bahá'í World Centre buildings are buildings that are part of the Bahá'í World Centre in Israel. The Bahá'í World Centre buildings include both the Bahá'í holy places used for pilgrimage and the international administrative bodies of the Bahá'í Faith; they comprise more than 20 different...

 in Acre and Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 were added to the UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage List
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

.

Sports


The city's football team
Football team
A football team is the collective name given to a group of players selected together in the various team sports known as football.Such teams could be selected to play in an against an opposing team, to represent a football club, group, state or nation, an All-star team or even selected as a...

 Hapoel Acre
Hapoel Acre F.C.
Hapoel Acre Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Acre, Israel. The club is currently in the Premier League and plays in dark blue shirts with white sleeves, dark blue shorts and white socks.-History:...

 is a member of Liga Leumit
Liga Leumit
Liga Leumit is the second tier in the Israeli football league system below the Premier League.-Structure:There are 16 clubs in the league. At the end of each season, the lowest-placed team are relegated to Liga Alef while the highest-placed team from Liga Alef are promoted in their place...

, the second tier of Israeli football
Football in Israel
Football is the most popular sport in Israel. Football as an organised sport first developed in the United Kingdom who controlled Israel during the days of the British Mandate. Israel will be hosting the UEFA U-21 Championship in 2013....

, after a brief stint in the Ligat ha'Al top division during the 1970s.
At the end of the 2008/9 season Hapoel Acre
Hapoel Acre F.C.
Hapoel Acre Football Club is an Israeli football club based in Acre, Israel. The club is currently in the Premier League and plays in dark blue shirts with white sleeves, dark blue shorts and white socks.-History:...

 finished in the top five and so was promoted to the Ligat ha'Al for a second time, after an absence of 31 years. A new football stadium is under construction at the southern approaches to the city and it is hoped that it will open during the 2011/2012 season and will seat 5000 spectators.

Transportation


The Acre central bus station
Bus station
A bus station is a structure where city or intercity buses stop to pick up and drop off passengers. It is larger than a bus stop, which is usually simply a place on the roadside, where buses can stop...

, served by Egged
Egged Bus Cooperative
Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd , a cooperative owned by its members is the largest transit bus company in Israel. It provides about 55 % of public transport services throughout the country, employs 6,227 workers and has 2,861 buses for more than 928 service routes and 3,103...

, offers city and inter-city bus routes to destinations all over Israel. The city is also served by the Acre Railway Station
Acre Railway Station
Acre Railway Station is an Israel Railways passenger station serving the city of Acre and the surrounding towns and villages.- Location :The station is situated on the North-South coastal line...

.

Twin towns — Sister cities


Acre is twinned with:
Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

, Italy, since 1998 Bregenz
Bregenz
-Culture:The annual summer music festival Bregenzer Festspiele is a world-famous festival which takes place on and around a stage on Lake Constance, where a different opera is performed every second year.-Sport:* A1 Bregenz HB is a handball team....

, Austria La Rochelle
La Rochelle
La Rochelle is a city in western France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.The city is connected to the Île de Ré by a bridge completed on 19 May 1988...

, France, since 1972 Recklinghausen
Recklinghausen
Recklinghausen is the northernmost city in the Ruhr-Area and the capital of the Recklinghausen district. It borders the rural Münsterland and is characterized by large fields and farms in the north and industry in the south...

, Germany Bielsko-Biała
Bielsko-Biała
-Economy and Industry:Nowadays Bielsko-Biała is one of the best-developed parts of Poland. It was ranked 2nd best city for business in that country by Forbes. About 5% of people are unemployed . Bielsko-Biała is famous for its textile, machine-building, and especially automotive industry...

, Poland Canton
Canton, Ohio
Canton is the county seat of Stark County in northeastern Ohio, approximately south of Akron and south of Cleveland.The City of Caton is the largest incorporated area within the Canton-Massillon Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, United States Deerfield Beach
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Deerfield Beach is a city in Broward County, Florida, USA. The city is named for the numerous deer that once roamed the area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 75,018...

, United States

Notable residents

  • Delila Hatuel
    Delila Hatuel
    Delila Hatuel is an Israeli Olympic foil fencer. She represented Israel at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and has been ranked as high as ninth in the world.-Biography:Hatuel is Jewish, and was born in Acre, Israel...

    , Olympic foil fencer
  • Heinrich Walpot von Bassenheim
    Heinrich Walpot von Bassenheim
    Heinrich Walpot von Bassenheim , also known as Henry Walpot, was the first Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1198 to 1200. As little is known about him, information regarding the Grand Master is mostly based on historians' theories.Walpot hailed from a rich family from Mainz. He...

  • Otto von Kerpen
    Otto von Kerpen
    Otto von Kerpen was the second Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, from 1200 to 1208.Otto came from a poor Rhenish knightly family residing in the castle of Kerpen in Kerpen, Rhineland-Palatinate...

  • Louis-Marie-Joseph Maximilian Caffarelli du Falga
    Louis-Marie-Joseph Maximilian Caffarelli du Falga
    Louis-Marie-Joseph-Maximilian Caffarelli du Falga was a French commander and scholar...


External links