One Thousand Nights and Days - Akko through the Ages
Curators of the Exhibition: Ann E. Killebrew and Vered Raz-Romeo

This exhibit is dedicated to Akko’s rich tangible and intangible heritage through the ages. Akko’s impressive archaeological remains, historic structures, and rich cultural heritage are illustrated by a multitude of historical texts, colorful stories, and oral histories. Because of its strategic, coastal location, and its natural harbor, for five thousand years Akko has served as a major cross-roads and meeting place between East and West. During the first three millennia (Early Bronze-Hellenistic periods: 3200-200 BCE), Akko’s Canaanite and Phoenician inhabitants resided on the mound located to the east of the modern city. In the Hellenistic period, Akko was renamed Ptolemais and it expanded westward to include parts of the present day Old and New City. Following the Islamic conquest in the seventh century CE, the city’s original Semitic name, Akka, was restored. By the early twelfth century CE, Acre, as it was also known during the Crusader period, was an important naval base, becoming the capital of the Crusader kingdom in 1191 CE. A hundred years later, the Crusader stronghold was destroyed by the Mamluks. Following a period of decline, Akko was rebuilt during the Ottoman period and regained its importance as a port city. Akko’s defenses were strong enough to deter Napoleon during his unsuccessful siege in 1799, a disaster that marked the collapse of Napoleon’s expedition. Today, Akko is a multi-cultural city with 50,000 inhabitants. In recognition of Akko’s outstanding universal value, the Old City of Akko was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2001.