Photography | Palestine

The City That Stopped Napoleon: Akka, Palestine

Narrated with quotes from Fugitive Dreams: Chronicles of Occupation and Resistance

Ramsey Hanhan 🇵🇸 🌍
4 min readFeb 6, 2024

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Akka, Palestine (Photo by the author, 1999).
Akka, Palestine (Photo by the author, 1999).

“We continued to Akka, an ancient Phoenician city mentioned in Egyptian records, just north along the coast. It was my first visit to this last bastion of the Crusaders in Palestine.”

“The old city was a fortress, with thick walls bordering the sea, secret tunnels, and access to land from one side only.” (Photos by the author, 2004).

“Napoleon’s Eastern campaign stopped at Akka. In school, we learned that al-Jazzar Pasha, the Turkish governor of Akka was the one who stopped Napoleon’s advance. In Western history books, the credit is awarded to Lord Nelson’s fleet. I think the real credit ought to go to Akka’s impregnable walls! It was impressive to walk atop them, looking far below at the waves crashing in vain at the foundations.”

Akka’s city walls (Photos by the author, 1999).
al-Jazzar Mosque (Photo by the author, 2004).
al-Jazzar Mosque (Photo by the author, 2004).

“Inside [Akka], we visited al-Jazzar Mosque … It was my first time inside a mosque, so I explored every corner admiring its architecture and intricate rugs and decorations. The octagonal structures and fountains in the courtyard complemented its expansive green dome.”

Inside al-Jazzar Mosque (Photos by the author, 2004).
The courtyard of al-Jazzar Mosque (Photos by the author, 1999).
The courtyard of al-Jazzar Mosque (Photos by the author, 1999).

“Akka’s population in 1948 was totally Arab, so the city was slated to be part of the Arab state in the UN partition plan. Nowadays, the city has a large Jewish majority, after Zionists from the surrounding “settlements” — like Nahariyya — had invaded it and expelled its Palestinian population to Lebanon.”

Akka outside the old city walls (Photo by the author, 2004).
Akka outside the old city walls (Photo by the author, 2004).

“We turned north towards Akka (Acre), then past Nahariyya, we got to a point where the road was blocked. Beyond was Lebanon, separated by military posts, radars, and observation towers.”

Cliffs at Ras an-Nakura, northwesternmost point in Palestine (Photo by the author, 1999).
Cliffs at Ras an-Nakura, northwesternmost point in Palestine (Photo by the author, 1999).

“We rode a cable car down to the main attraction, caves the sea carved into the side of chalk cliffs. We followed a rocky and slippery path to the interior. …”

Caves at Ras an-Nakura (Photos by the author, 1999).

“The waves splashed breathtaking sounds and colors into the caves. With every lashing tongue of foam, salty droplets swirled in turbulent ecstasy, coating the rocks, the path, and our legs with the slippery seawater.”

Caves at Ras an-Nakura (Photo by the author, 1999).

With love,
Ramsey Hanhan
Author, Fugitive Dreams

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Ramsey Hanhan 🇵🇸 🌍

Author. Tree spirit trapped in human form, I speak for the voiceless: children and the Earth, nature, justice, truth, freedom, love and Palestine. 🇵🇸 🌍