Akko Walls and Market
The remnants of the still-thriving ancient city of Akko are a monument to the mighty port and fortress that withstood numerous wars and regimes. When you stop at this northern coastal city during your tour of Israel, walk along the city's walls for a birds-eye view of historical Akko and the Mediterranean Sea, turning in at the shuk for a shopping experience like no other in the Holy Land.
The wall around Akko was first built in the year 960, at the behest of the Islamic ruler Ibn Tolon. The fortifications were renovated by the Crusaders in the 13th century, with the addition of new walls and towers. The existing walls were made higher at this time as well. The Mamluks destroyed the wall in 1290, but it was later rebuilt by the Bedouin ruler Dahar El-Omar in 1750.
The Ottoman Empire fortified the city between 1800 and 1814 by adding massive double walls with watchtowers – and heavy cannons situated strategically on the walls. The British Mandate opened the walls in two places to allow for motorized traffic in and out of the city.
Akko is famous for its colorful markets. The Turkish Bazaar, originally constructed in the eighteenth century, has recently reopened as a craft and miniature art bazaar. This is an excellent place to purchase souvenirs and tourist artifacts.
The White Market was the city of Akko's main commercial center in the nineteenth century and is considered to be one of the region's largest building enterprises of the early 19th century. It was even compared to the Damascus market by one of the travelers at the time. Today it is home to warehouses, shops and restaurants.
Akko's main market is on Market Street in the Old City, leading from the north of the city through Via Regis ("King's Way") to the port of Akko. A variety of stalls hawk everything from fish and sweet oriental pastries to perfume and original spice blends.