The Khan al-Umdan, meaning “Caravanserai of the Pillars” or “Inn of the Columns,” is a largest and best preserved of the four khan’s in Akko.
Located in Old Acre, close to the port, and was built in 1784 where an old Crusader structure once stood.
A khan is an urban caravanserai, which are roadside inns where travelers or “caravaners” could rest and recover from the day’s journey.
Merchants who arrived to the port unloaded their goods in the inn’s storerooms on the first floor and slept in the rooms on the second floor.
The courtyards at the center of the structure once served camel caravans bringing grain from Galilean villages to the city’s markets and port.
The khan get’s its name from the forty granite and porphyry columns pillars that line the courtyard.
The columns were taken from Caesarea, Atlit, and the ruins of Crusader monuments in Acre itself.
The commercial activity in the khan seized as a result of the vast destruction brought to the city with the Egyptian conquest of 1832, even though the structure itself was not harmed by the attacks.
In 1906 a tall clock tower was built adjacent to the main entrance to the khan to commemorate the silver jubilee of the rule of Ottoman sultan.
Today, the Khan al-Umdan is a major tourist attraction open day and night.
It’s also used as an open-air stage during festivals in the city, such as the theater festival of Acre in October.