Templar Tunnel and Templar Fortress
About Templar Tunnel and Templar Fortress
The Knights Templar first headquartered on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. When Jerusalem was taken by the Muslims in 1187, the Templars moved to Acre. The historical Acre (modern day Akko) is one of the most iconic archaeological sites in Israel. As an ancient city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Acre contains many fascinating archaeological treasures alongside important historical sites.
The underground passageway is 150m long and connects the Templar Fortress in the west to the city’s port in the east. It is a marvel of ancient ingenuity by the Knights Templar. The lower part of the tunnel is cut directly into the bedrock and its upper part is made of hewn stones covered with a semi-barrelled dome. After Acre fell to the Mamluks in the 13th century, the tunnel was lost and forgotten. In 1994, the tunnel was rediscovered by a woman battling a blocked sewage pipe beneath her house.
Templar Fortress (Crusader Fortress)
The Templar Fortress in Acre was built and inhabited by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. At the time it was built, Acre was one of the main ports of Israel. The entrance of the fortress was protected by two imposing towers with thick walls. Two smaller towers were built on either side of the main towers and each was topped with a gilded lion. Sadly, this fortress is no longer in existence instead a modern lighthouse stands at this end of the Templars Tunnel.
- The Templars were a military monastic order who, in the name of the pope, aided pilgrims coming from Europe to visit the holy sites of the land of Israel.
- Acre was the last Christian fortress in the region. Its fall in 1291 marked the end of the Holy Land Crusades.
- Most of the current old town dates to the Ottomans and was built using the ruins of the Crusader city as foundations. The street level of the old Templar town is about 8m below the current one. Many Crusader buildings still survive but buried beneath the Ottoman city.