Acre, Israel

Acre

  • עַכּוֹ
  • عكّا
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • ISO 259ʕakko
Aerial view of Acre 1.jpg
Official logo of Acre
Municipal emblem
Acre is located in Israel
Acre
Acre
Coordinates: 32°55′40″N 35°04′54″E / 32°55′40″N 35°04′54″E / 32.92778; 35.08167(2018)[1]
 • Total48,930
 • Density3,600/km2 (9,400/sq mi)
Official nameOld City of Acre
1042
Inscription2001 (25th Session)
Area63.3 ha
Buffer zone22.99 ha

Acre (ər/ or ər/), known to locals as Akko (Hebrew: עַכּוֹ, ʻAkkō) or Akka (Arabic: عكّا‎, ʻAkkā), is a city in the coastal plain region of the Northern District of Israel.

The city occupies an important location, sitting in a natural harbour at the extremity of Haifa Bay on the coast of the Mediterranean's Levantine Sea.[2] Aside from coastal trading, it was also an important waypoint on the region's coastal road and the road cutting inland along the Jezreel Valley. The first settlement during the Early Bronze Age was abandoned after a few centuries but a large town was established during the Middle Bronze Age.[3] Continuously inhabited since then, it is among the oldest continuously-inhabited settlements on Earth.[4] It has, however, been subject to conquest and destruction several times and survived as little more than a large village for centuries at a time.

In present-day Israel, the population was 48,930 in 2018,[1] made up of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Baha'is. In particular, Acre is the holiest city of the Bahá'í Faith and receives many pilgrims of that faith every year. Thirty-two per cent of the city's population is Arab. The mayor is Shimon Lankri, who was reelected in 2011.[5]

Names

Ottoman aqueduct to Acre

The etymology of the name is unknown, but apparently not Semitic.[6] A folk etymology in Hebrew is that, when the ocean was created, it expanded until it reached Acre and then stopped, giving the city its name. (In Hebrew, ad koh means "up to here" and no further.)[6]

Acre seems to be recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphics, possibly being the "Akka" in the execration texts from around 1800 BC[7][8] and the "Aak" in the tribute lists of Thutmose III (1479–1425 BC).[citation needed] The Akkadian cuneiform Amarna letters also mention an "Akka" in the mid-14th-century BC.[9][10] On its native currency, Acre's name was written ʿK (Phoenician: 𐤏𐤊).[11] It appears in Assyrian[6] and once in Biblical Hebrew.[12] Other transcriptions of these names include Acco, Accho, Akke, and Ocina.[citation needed]

Acre was known to the Greeks as Ákē (Greek: Ἄκη), a homonym for Greek word meaning "cure". Greek legend then offered a folk etymology that Hercules had found curative herbs at the site after one of his many fights.[13] This name was latinized as Ace. Josephus's histories also transcribed the city into Greek as Akre.

Under the successors of Alexander the Great, the Egyptians called the city Ptolemais (Greek: Πτολεμαΐς, Ptolemaΐs) and the Syrians Antioch (Greek: Ἀντιόχεια, Antiókheia)[14] or Antiochenes.[citation needed] As both names were shared by a great many other towns, they were variously distinguished. The Syrians called it "Antioch in Ptolemais" (Ἀντιόχεια τῆς ἐν Πτολεμαΐδι, Antiókheia tôs en Ptolemaΐdi),[11] and the Romans Ptolemais in Phoenicia. Others knew it as "Antiochia Ptolemais" (Ἀντιόχεια Πτολεμαΐς, Antiókheia Ptolemaΐs).[citation needed]

Under Claudius, it was also briefly known as Germanicia in Ptolemais (Γερμανίκεια τῆς ἐν Πτολεμαΐδι, Germaníkeia tôs en Ptolemaΐdi).[11] As a Roman colony, it was notionally refounded and renamed Colonia Claudii Caesaris Ptolemais[15] or Colonia Claudia Felix Ptolemais Garmanica Stabilis[16] after its imperial sponsor Claudius; it was known as Colonia Ptolemais for short.[15]

During the Crusades, it was known again as Acre or as St. John of Acre (French: St.-Jean d'Acre), after the Knights Hospitaller who had their headquarters there.