|Location:||Akko or Acre. About 40 minutes bus ride from Haifa. Northern part of the Old City, opposite the El-Jazzar Pasha Mosque.|
|Open:||All year Sat-Thu 8:30-16:45, Fri 8:30-13:45. |
|Fee:||Adults NIS 15, Students US$ 1.50. Tickets are valid for both the Subterranean City and the Municipal Museum. |
|Address:||Old Acre Visitors Center, Enchanted Garden, Acre, Tel: 1-700-70-80-20, Fax: +972-4-9813651.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|12th cty||members of the Templar Order began building their quarter.|
Opposite the El-Jazzar Pasha Mosque is the entrance to the Subterranean Crusader City. The area was the headquarters of the Knights Hospitallers, and what was their street level is now eight meters below the ground.
Some of the huge columns in the entrance halls, are engraved with French fleur-de-lys, others with Turkish decorations. This leads to another hall, which once held a wine press, after which you enter the courtyard where the 30 metre high citadel walls dominate.
Going through the large Turkish gates to the left leads to the Knight's Halls. Turn right from here into the centre of the Crusader complex. In the ceiling is the cemented over tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners in the British prison above.
Concerts occasionally take place in the halls and the annual Akko Underground Theatre Festival is staged here.
Going back through the courtyard you come to the Grand Meneir, the centre of the Crusader government. A narrow passage leads to the Knight's Dining Hall, also called The Refectory or Crypt of St John. Next to the crypt's third column is a stairway leading to a long underground passage. It is not known what its original purpose was, but el-Jazzar planned to use it as an escape route if Napoleon captured the city. Following this passage you come to the rooms and courtyard of the Crusaders' Domus Infirmorum, or hospital. The Turks used the area as a post office so it is known as Al-Bosta.
Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.