Evaluating Adaptive Reuse Alternatives of a Multi-Layered Port City

Acre, Israel






Port City, Acre, Akko, Akka, Urban Heritage, Adaptive Reuse


Acre is a port city in the north-western part of Israel, with a history that goes back more than 4000 years. Being inscribed on the World Heritage List, the Old City of Acre preserves the urban and architectural elements of a historic town. Its outstanding value relies on the Crusader remnants preserved under the Ottoman city, showcasing the dynamism and continuous change of Mediterranean port cities. Moreover, the presence of various religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Bahai, adds to its complexity, expressed as monuments and religious sites that enrichen Acre’s cultural heritage. The dramatic change in values over the past decades has a direct impact on the built environment and the citizen’s lifestyles, in some cases jeopardising the physical elements and drastically influencing people’s lives. This paper aims to analyse the changes linked to the sea: livelihoods, tourism, and recreational use; and the change of use of the khan, as both the sea and the khan are constant elements in the city. The analysis of these processes serves as the starting point to identify changes in values which can enhance development or promote gentrification, and in the case of Khan Al-Umdan and its vicinity, we aim to recognise the lights and shadows that followed the adaptive reuse evaluation procedure, and the influence of the multiple narratives in its development. The conclusions will provide a solid base on which to develop a methodology on the one hand, identify changing processes, such as gentrification; and on the other, to evaluate adaptive reuse alternatives of cultural heritage in contested societies and changing values.

How to Cite

Yarza Pérez, A. J. (2021). Evaluating Adaptive Reuse Alternatives of a Multi-Layered Port City: Acre, Israel. SPOOL, 8(1), 49–80. https://doi.org/10.7480/spool.2021.1.5903








Abulafia, D. (2011). The great sea: A human history of the Mediterranean. Oxford University Press.

Ashworth, G. J. (1994). From history to heritage - from heritage to identity: In search of concepts and models. Building a New Heritage: Tourism, Culture and Identity in the New Europe., 13–30.

Aubet, M. E., & Turton, M. (2001). The Phoenicians and the West: Politics, colonies and trade (Second edition). Cambridge University Press.

Avni, G. (2011). Continuity And Change In Cities Of Palestine During The Early Islamic Period. K.J. Holum & H. Lapin Ed. Shaping the Middle East – Jews, Christians and Muslims in an Age of Transition, 400–800.

Bacci, M. & Fribourg Colloquium (Eds.). (2014). The Holy Portolano: The Sacred Geography of Navigation in the Middle Ages ; Fribourg Colloqium 2013: Le Portulan sacré. De Gruyter.

Bandarin, F., Hosagrahar, J., & Sailer Albernaz, F. (2011). Why development needs culture. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, 1(1), 15–25. https://doi.org/10.1108/20441261111129906

Barthel-Bouchier, D. (2010). Heritage and Social Change: Anticipating Future Trends. ICOMOS Scientific Symposium Changing World, Changing Views of Heritage: The Impact of Global Change on Cultural Heritage 2010, 7.

Boas, A. J. (1997). A Rediscovered Market Street in Frankish Acre? ’Atiqot / 181-186 31 Antiquities. JSTOR.

Braudel, F. (1982). On history (Pbk. ed). University of Chicago Press.

Braudel, F. (1994). Una Lección de historia de Fernand Braudel. Fondo de Cultura Económica.

Braudel, F. (2002). The Mediteranean in the ancient world. Penguin Books.

Braudel, F., Ayala, R. de, Aymard, M., Braudel, P., López, A., & Tabuyo, M. (1997). En torno al Mediterráneo. Paidós.

Butler, R., & Hinch, T. (Eds.). (2007). Tourism and indigenous peoples: Issues and implications (1st. ed). Butterworth-Heinemann.

Cambridge Dictionary. (2021). Retrieved February 20, 2021, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/narrative

Central Bureau of Statistics, Government of Israel. (2018). POPULATION ESTIMATES - Population, By Religion and Population Group. Internet Archive - WayBack Machine. https://web.archive.org/web/20180914203517/http://cbs.gov.il/shnaton56/st02_01.pdf

Cunliffe, B. (2017). On the ocean: The Mediterranean and the Atlantic from prehistory to ad 1500. Oxford University Press.

Dana, C. A. (1886). Haifa, or life in modern Palestine. ECHO LIBRARY.

Della Pergola, S. & Jewish People Policy Institute. (2011). Jewish demographic policies: Population trends and options in Israel and in the diaspora. Jewish People Policy Institute.

European Union research report No 16 Sustainable development of Urban historical areas through and active Integration within Towns – SUIT. (2004). European Union.

Folda, J. (2005). Crusader art in the Holy Land: From the Third Crusade to the fall of Acre, 1187-1291. Cambridge University Press.

Harari, D. (2012). Acre Tourism Development Strategy. https://www.akko.org.il/en/Acre-Tourism-Development-Strategy

Jacoby, D. (2015). The Expansion of Venetian Government in the Eastern Mediterranean until the late Thirteenth Century. In G. Ortalli, O. J. Schmitt, & E. Orlando, Il Commonwealth veneziano tra 1204 e la fine della Repubblica: Identità e peculiarità (pp. 73–107). Istituto veneto di scienze, lettere ed arti.

Kedar, B. Z., & Stern, E. (1995). A Vaulted East—West Street in Acre’s Genoese Quarter? ’Atiqot, 26, 105–111. JSTOR.

Killebrew, A. E., Raz-Romeo, V., & Muze’on Re’uven ve-’Idit Hekht (Eds.). (2010). One thousand Nights and Days—Akko through the Ages / Elef lailah ve-yom: Toldoteha shel ‘Ako. Muze’on Hekht, Universitat Hefah.

Kool, R. (1997). The Genoese Quarter in Thirteenth-Century Acre: A Reinterpretation of Its Layout. ’Atiqot, 31, 187–200. JSTOR.

Mccullagh, C. B. (2000). Bias in Historical Description, Interpretation, and Explanation. History and Theory, 39(1), 39–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/0018-2656.00112

McMaster. (2020, March 25). Gentrification: When neighbourhoods change, lives change. Default. https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/detail/blog/2018/07/17/gentrification-when-neighbourhoods-change-lives-change

Municipality of Acre. (2014). Tourism. http://akko.muni.il/?CategoryID=1271

Norwich, J. J. (2006). The Middle Sea: A history of the Mediterranean (1st U.S. ed). Doubleday.

Plevoets, B., & Van Cleempoel, K. (2019). Adaptive reuse of the built heritage. Concepts and cases of an emerging discipline. Routledge Ltd.

Radojewski, B. (2010). The Historical Documentation of the Water Cisterns under the Jazzar Pasha Mosque in Acre. International Conservation Center.

Saifi & Chávez. (2019). Akka, Israel, June 17, 2015. Journal of Civil and Human Rights, 5, 49. https://doi.org/10.5406/jcivihumarigh.2019.0049

Sakel, D., Reinsch, D. R., Jeffreys, E., Spieser, J.-M., Haldon, J. F., Brenk, B., Odorico, P., Cormack, R., Jacoby, D., Ivanov, S. A., Cheynet, J.-C., Jeffreys, M., Mullett, M., Koder, J., Türk Tarih Kurumu, & Atatürk Kültür, Dil, ve Tarih Yüksek Kurumu (Turkey) (Eds.). (2014). Byzantine culture: Papers from the conference “Byzantine days of Istanbul” [İstanbul’un Doğu Roma Günleri] held on the occasion of Istanbul being European Cultural Capital 2010, Istanbul, May 21-23 2010. Atatürk Kültür, Dil ve Tarih Yüksek Kurumu.

Sassen, S. (2011). When Cities Become Strategic. Architectural Design, 81(3), 124–127. https://doi.org/10.1002/ad.1250

Schvoerer, M., Herz, N., Holbrow, K. A., & Sturman, S. (1999). Archimaterials: Marbles and Other Stones used in Antiquity: ASMOSIA IV, Bordeaux-Talence, 9-13 octobre 1995 (Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones used in Antiquity & Centre de recherche en physique appliquée à l’archéologie, Eds.). CRPAA : PUB.

Smithline, H., Stern, E. J., Stern, E., & Syon, D. (2013). A Crusader-Period Bathhouse in ’Akko (Acre). ’Atiqot, 73, 71–108. JSTOR.

Stern, E. (1999a). ’Akko (Acre), the Eastern Moat. Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel, 110, 11*-12*. JSTOR.

Stern, E. (1999b). ’Akko, the Old City. Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel, 109, 10*-13*. JSTOR.

Stern, E. (2001). Old ’Akko, the Fortress. Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel, 113, 12*-13*. JSTOR.

Stern, E. (2014). ‘Akko. Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel, 126. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26604517

Stern, E. J. (2013). The Fatimid, Crusader and Mamluk—Early Ottoman Ceramic Finds from the ’Akko Marina: Some Insights into Medieval Maritime Activity. ’Atiqot, 76, 139–168. JSTOR.

Stern, E. J., Benente, F., & Stern, E. (2017). ‘Akko, the Old City, the Genoese Quarter. Hadashot Arkheologiyot: Excavations and Surveys in Israel, 129. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26693666

Stone, S. (2020). UnDoing buildings: Adaptive reuse and cultural memory. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Thesaurus Dictionary. (2021). Retrieved February 18, 2021, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/narrative?s=t

UNESCO. (2004). 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. UNESCO.

UNESCO. (2011). Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape. UNESCO.

UNESCO World Heritage Centre. (2020). Heritage in Urban Contexts: Impacts of Development Projects on World Heritage properties in Cities. Final Outcomes.

Wilkinson, T. J. (2003). Archaeological landscapes of the Near East. University of Arizona Press.

Wong, L. (2017). Adaptive Reuse: Extending the lives of buildings. Birkhäuser.

World Heritage Centre. (2001). World Heritage Centre Nomination Documentation—Old City of Acre.

World Heritage Centre. (2013). World Heritage Periodic Report—Section II - Old City of Acre.