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Khan al-Umdan

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Khan al-Umdan

Khan al-Umdan
خان العمدان
Alternative names Hebrew: ח'אן אל עומדאן
Baha'i name: Khán-i-'Avámid
General information
Type Caravanserai
Architectural style Ottoman
Location Acre, Israel
Completed 1784
Technical details
Floor count 2

Khan al-Umdan (Arabic: خان العمدان‎: "Caravanserai of the Pillars" or "Inn of the Columns", also known as Khán-i-'Avámid) is the largest and best preserved khan in Israel.[1][2] Located in the Old City of Acre, it is one of the prominent projects constructed during the rule of Ahmed Jezzar Pasha in Galilee, under the Ottoman era.


Ottoman period

Being one of four Khans in Acre, Khan al-Umdan was built in 1784 on the place of the Royal Customs house of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Due to its plethora of columns the khan was named Khan al-Umdan which means "Inn of the Columns" or "Caravanserai of Pillars".[1][2] It incorporates forty columns made of granite that were taken from Caesarea, Atlit and the ruins of Crusader monuments in Acre itself.[1]

The clock tower of Khan al-Umdan

Due to its proximity to the port, Khan al-Umdan has throughout its history been an important trading spot. Merchants arriving at Acre used the khan as a warehouse while the second floor functioned as a hostel.[3][4] Camel caravans once brought produce and grain from Galilean villages to the city's markets and port.[5]

The khan later gained importance to the Bahá'í Faith (as the Khán-i-'Avámid) as it was the site where Baha'ullah used to receive guests, and later the site for a Bahá'í school.

In 1906 a clock tower was added adjacent to the main entrance to the khan to commemorate the silver jubilee of the rule of Ottoman sultan Abd al-Hamid II. It is similar to the Jaffa Clock Tower, a building dedicated to the same purpose. [1]

Modern era

In 2001 Khan al-Umdan, together with the rest of Acre's old city, was designated as a world heritage site.[6] In 2004 Khan al-Umdan (Hebrew: ח'אן אל עומדאן‎) was featured on a stamp of Israel worth 1.3 sheqels.[7] Nowadays, the khan is a major tourist attraction open all hours of the day and also used as an open air stage during the festivals in the city, such as the theater festival of Acre during the month of October.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Umdan Khan". Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  2. ^ a b Vilnay, 1963.
  3. ^ "Khan el Umdan". Eye on Israel. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  4. ^ "DSCN0594". Steve Slepchik. Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  5. ^ Dumper and Stanley, 2006, p. 7.
  6. ^ "Old City of Acre". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  7. ^ "The Acre Clock Tower, Khan El-Umdan". Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  8. ^ "Inn Of The Pillars". TrekEarth. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 


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