Khan al-Umdan

Khan al-Umdan (Arabic: خان العمدان: "Caravanserai of the Pillars" or "Inn of the Columns", also known as Khán-i-ʻAvámid) is the largest and best preserved caravanserai in Acre, 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.

Khan al-Umdan
خان العمدان
Akko BW 13.JPG
Alternative namesHebrew: ח'אן אל עומדאן
Baháʼí name: Khán-i-'Avámid
General information
Architectural styleOttoman
LocationAcre, Israel
Technical details
Floor count2


Ottoman periodEdit

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 Baháʼí Faith (as the Khán-i-'Avámid) as it was the site where Baha'ullah used to receive guests, and later the site for a Baháʼí 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] along with five more towers in Ottoman Palestine (in Jerusalem, Haifa, Safed, Nablus, and possibly Nazareth) and over a hundred across the entire empire.

Modern eraEdit

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 used as an open-air stage during festivals in the city, such as the theater festival of Acre during the month of October.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Umdan Khan". Archived from the original on 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
  2. ^ a b Vilnay, 1963.
  3. ^ "Khan el Umdan". Eye on Israel. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
  4. ^ "DSCN0594". Steve Slepchik. 30 December 2007. 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". Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2011-09-06.
  8. ^ "Inn Of The Pillars". TrekEarth. Retrieved 2009-01-29.


Coordinates: 32°55′11.73″N 35°4′8.57″E / 32.9199250°N 35.0690472°E / 32.9199250; 35.0690472