Akko (aka Acco, aka Acre) is one of the oldest cities in the world. In 1458 BCE, Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III proudly listed “Aak” as one of the towns his troops conquered.

Interestingly, for most of its history, Akko was not a Jewish city. The only mention of Akko in the Tanach is at the end of the first chapter of the Book of Judges, where, tellingly, it says, “(The Tribe of) Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Akko…” In the Second Temple period, Akko emerged as one of the largest cities in the country. Never friendly to the Jews, its name was changed to Ptolemais, reflecting its new Greek nature.

Still, Akko certainly has Jewish history as well. Over two hundred French rabbis settled here in the thirteenth century. Nachmanides (the Ramban) lived in Akko initially when he arrived in the country in 1267 CE, and some say he is buried here. Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (the Ramchal) lived here when he moved to Israel in 1743, and the eighteenth-century synagogue named after him is still open to visitors.

What we see today is mostly Crusader ruins. Indeed, Akko was a Crusader stronghold. A UNESCO-recognized site with the second-largest fortifications in the world, accessible today are tunnels, castles, royal rooms and other remains from the Templars, Hospitaliers, and other Crusader orders.

More recently, Napoleon failed to defeat the Turkish Ottomans here in 1799. In 1948’s War of Independence, there were major battles here between Arabs and Jews — and to this day it is a mixed city.

It is unclear when Akko’s story started — but it very clear that is not yet complete.