>  Top Tour Destinations in Northern Israel   >  Al-Jazzar Mosque, Akko

akko al jazzar mosque

Set in the heart of Akko‘s old city, Al-Jazzar Mosque is the biggest mosque in Israel and is second only to Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Akko’s governor, Ahmad Pasha, ‘Al-Jazzar,’ erected the mosque in the 18th century, and he is buried in its courtyard.

Ahmed Pasha Al-Jazzar

Al-Jazzar (in Arabic: ‘The Cutter’) was a Bosnian officer the Ottomans appointed to rule Akko. Known for his cruelty, he used to cut his personnel’s organs because he constantly suspected their loyalty. Nevertheless, his regime of terror guaranteed the needed discipline to fortify the city and hold out against Napoleon’s attack on Akko in 1799 CE.

Completed in 1781, the mosque’s design echoes the famous ‘Hagia Sofia’ shrine in Istanbul, with pendentives supporting the central dome. The mosque is built over the ruins of the Crusaders-era ‘Santa Croce’ church, whose former cellars were turned into cisterns. Furthermore, the colonnade around the mosque re-uses many columns from Roman times. Inside is a beautifully restored preaching stand (minbar) next to the mosque’s mihrab. The walls are decorated with colored tiles bearing quotes from the Quran in delicate calligraphy.

The Mosque’s green dome and slender minaret are possibly the most recognized landmarks in Akko, and they are also visible from miles outside the city. Al-Jazzar and his adopted son, Suleyman, are buried next to the mosque in a double-domed structure.

Touring Al-Jazzar Mosque

Known among the locals as ‘Jama el-Basha’ (The Pasha’s mosque), Al-Jazzar mosque is open to non-Muslims from Saturday to Thursday. Visitors must dress modestly and take off their shoes. There is also an entry fee of about USD$3. Near the entrance is a classic Turkish-style kiosk (Sabil) offering chilled fresh water for Muslim pilgrims and visitors.

A tour of Al-Jazzar mosque and Akko can be combined with a day tour to Caesarea, Haifa and Akko, or a day tour in the north.

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