Saint John of Acre (Akko) lies 17 miles north of Haïfa. From the 12th century, Saint John of Acre became the first port of the Eastern Mediterranean and the advance post of Western Christianism. The city that attracted pilgrims from all corners of Europe witnessed several conflicts between Christian factions who had settled there (templars, hospitallers, Genoese, Pisans...) In 1291, the conquest of the city by the Muslim forces of Sultan Mamelouk sounded the death knell for the last Frank fort in the Holy Land. The El-Jazzar Mosque was built in 1781 by Sheikh Ahmed Pacha, known as El-Jazzar ?the butcher' (who reigned as a tyrant in the area), on the foundations of Saint John Cathedral which dates back to the era of the Crusaders. In the hospital district, you will find a maze of undergound rooms leading to the astounding hall of the knights and the former refectory of the monk-soldiers. This vast vaulted hall is supported by large pillars, one of which opens on to a 213 ft long secret passage. In the Venetian district, take a stroll around the former stronghold of the merchants who had hitherto occupied this area on the shores of what is today a small fishing port. Visit the Khan Umdan (the ?Inn of Pillars'), which is located on the site of the former Genoese district. Its impressive granite pillars were brought in from Caesarea and other antique sites. On the ground floor, you will find stables, and upstairs, an inn. Lastly, take a look around the souk with its spice merchants and don't forget to view the lighthouse erected at the extremity of the rampart.