Acre, Western Galilee tourism packages bring Crusades history to life

Acre, Israel
Acre, Israel | Contributed photo

The Israeli city of Acre on the Mediterranean coast has a rich history, and now visitors can explore that history with an experienced guide.

This month, Uri Jeremias, a local tour guide and renowned chef, is announcing new options for his Acre and Western Galilee tours that take participants through one of the oldest cities in the world. Tours commence from the Efrendi Hotel and showcase aspects of Acre’s legacy, including details of the Second Crusader kingdom in the 12th and 13th centuries.

“For the first time ever, travelers, academics, scholars, and history enthusiasts of all faiths and creeds can now experience the cultural richness of Acre and the Western Galilee through the eyes and ears of its expert inhabitants,” an announcement detailing all of the new tour options that greet visitors to the hotel and restaurant said.

Sure, it's located on the other side of the Arab peninsula, but Acre is really only a few hundred miles from Saudi Arabia and has its own set of connections to the larger Persian Gulf region. Historically, Acre was a major port for history's big empires and a vital landmark on the land bridge between Africa, Europe and Asia.

Tour groups get access to some of the most curious historical areas of Acre. Walking tours take visitors through the actual daily life of these communities and include guest speakers and other extras. A tour called "Acre and its Wonders | The Crusader & Galilean Experience" offers various elements, including lunch at a traditional Arabic house, an evening discussion about daily life in Crusader's Acre, and a seminar about medicine and spices during the Crusader period, as well as a wine toast overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at sunset.

Visitors selecting a "Wine and Dine" tour get an afternoon lecture about medical science during the Crusades and medieval Arabic medicine, a participatory belly-dance workshop at Efendi Hotel, an evening of Israeli/Arabic music unique to the Galilee region and a market tour of Acre, among other experiences.

There’s also an academic seminar that emphasizes the history of the Crusades. With this option, visitors get access to the Hospitaler Fortress and Templars' Tunnels. They’ll enjoy a sunset apéritif on the Efendi Hotel rooftop, along with evening discussions about Acre as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Jeremias recently talked about the history of his business and the inspiration for these history tours.

“I have been giving tours to friends since my restaurant, Uri Buri, opened 25 years ago,” Jeremias told the Gulf News Journal. “The Crusader and Western Galilee Tours launched officially in November 2015, but were being developed for years prior to that. Through the tours, we create a unique perspective that reveals the historical wonder and importance of Acre, the 4,000-year-old port city and second capital of the Crusader kingdom. Visitors can connect with the food, stories and sites of the past.

Jeremias also mentioned some of the big attractions that local tours feature.

“The historical footprint is truly incredible.” Jeremias said. “Visits to Montfort Castle and Mi'ilya, Crusader sites in the Western Galilee are truly fascinating each and every time I visit. The Hospitaler Fortress, The Templars' Tunnels and a Crusader Fortress allow visitors to gain a sense of what life was like in the Crusader era.”

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