Old City Akko is a tiny fishing village slash crusader fort, about half an hour outside of Haifa. Over the past thousand years, there has understandably been a great deal of development outside of the ancient walls, but the tourist attractions are all in the Old City itself.
I rose bright and early to walk the rampart walls before the city woke up.
Like many cities in Israel, Old Akko is a maze of tunnels and bridges and alleyways. It’s small, so even when I got lost, I was able to quickly find my way back to landmarks.
Aside from the beauty of the Old City, there’s an old crusader fort that was recently discovered underground. Akko has been excevating and rennovating the fort, so that tourists like myself can take a look around. The complex is enormous! The city has done an amazing job restoring the fort and creating an audio tour to take tourists through it.
Exiting the fort to the next destination on my intinerary, on the otherhand, was claustraphobic. I made my way through undergorund tunnels barely wide enough for my shoulders, and barely tall enough for me to stand. In some places, not at all tall enough (and I am not very tall). The path was unmarked, and I experienced a brief moment of panic, worried that I’d stay lost in the tunnels forever.
I eventually found my way out and to the Turkish baths, but a word to the wise, the tunnels are an experience it pays to be prepared for.
The history of the town of Akko is wrapped up in its leaders, whether Christian, Muslim, or Jewish. In the 18th Century, one of Akko’s fiercest protectors, Jezzer Pasha built a mosque, still used today for daily prayers. One of the most bizarre moments of my trip was seeing a group of female tourists argue with the gatekeeper about their modesty before entering the mosque grounds. Sleeves and a hair covering are required; however, if, like me, you wear a hat and a shirt that covers your shoulders because OMG SUN WRINKLES CANCER, then you’ll be fine as you are.
Before stopping at Uri Buri, one of the best restaurants in Israel, for lunch, I took another walk aroud the walls.
Lunch was delicious, and quite reasonably priced for the quality and quantity that I recieved. Caviar with marscapone? Shrimp and artichokes? Delicious Israeli wine? SIGN ME UP. Uri Buri is a hidden gem (well known, but also well hidden) in Akko. Highly recommended!