Akko Crusader Halls
A tour of the Holy Land should include a stop at the Akko Crusader Halls, a large complex that served as a hub for the Knights Hospitallers. The complex was part of a citadel that the order used for living quarters, worship and the administration of a hospital.
Tour participants will enjoy exploring the complex's six semi-joined halls, one recently excavated large hall, a dungeon, a dining room and the remains of an ancient Gothic church. Akko's Crusader Halls were excavated underneath the Ottoman fortification that was built on their foundations, and which later became a prison.
The city of Akko was the last stronghold of the Crusaders in the Holy Land. As a port city, the inhabitants had comparatively easy access to supplies from Europe. Its strategic location by the sea therefore made Akko a wealthy city. The Hospitallers - the order of the Knights of the Hospital of Saint John - settled in the city and built the complex in the beginning of the 12th century. The order was dedicated to hosting visiting pilgrims and tending to the medical needs of Christians in the Holy Land.
The great hall, which was used as a hospital, is the most impressive room. It is exceedingly large and consists of 20 vaults and 15 columns. The dining room is also fairly large and includes what was once a kitchen as well. The complex also features a secret passageway, especially exciting for children, which connects the halls with the crypt under the Church of St. John. The Crusaders constructed it to allow access between the fortress and hidden ammunition caches. At the end of the tunnel you can see Crusader tombstones displayed in the crypt.