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Acco

An update to Vol. 1, pp. 16–31.

By Eliezer SternEhud GaliliBaruch Rosen

HISTORY

In 1104, five years after the capture of Jerusalem, Acco was besieged by land and sea by Baldwin I, king of Jerusalem, with the help of the Genoese fleet, and the city was taken by the Crusaders. In the early years of Crusader rule in Acco, the Hospitallers were the recipients of property in the city. The first reference to this property appears in documents from the year 1110, which mention that King Baldwin I permitted the Hospitallers to retain ownership of buildings received as gifts north of the Church of the Holy Cross. In 1135, some of the order’s buildings were damaged during the church compound’s expansion to the north. As a result, the Hospitallers quit the area and embarked on the construction of a new compound in the northwestern sector of the city, adjoining Acco’s twelfth-century northern city wall. This complex represents the Hospitallers’ Compound as it is known today. It is first mentioned in a document from the time of Queen Melisande (1149), which reports the construction of the Church of St. John in the Hospitallers’ Quarter south of the new compound. In 1169, the pilgrim Theodoric visited Acco and described the Hospitallers’ Compound in Acco as an impressive fortified building that was equaled only by the Templar’s fortress.

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