Seaport in northwest Israel, situated on the Mediterranean Sea; population (2006 est) 45,900. The city was built on a small promontory which, with Mount Carmel to the south, forms a semicircular bay. From being part of British-mandated Palestine, it became part of Israel in 1948. Industries include tourism, fishing, and light manufactures.
History It became the capital of the Crusaders' kingdom following their capture of Jerusalem in 1187, and was retaken by Richard the Lionheart in 1191, after which the city was given to the Knights of St John. It fell to the Egyptians in 1291 and to the Turks in 1517. A 61-day siege by Napoleon in 1799 was relieved by Jazzar Pasha and Sir Sidney Smith. In 1832 the city was taken by Ibrahim Pasha; and by the British, Austrians, and Turks in 1840. British field marshal Allenby captured the port in 1918.
Features The walls and earthworks, a perfect example of a late 18th-century fortress, are almost intact. The town itself is entered by an archway in which stand the original iron-plated gates. Inside them is the ‘White Market’, with its vaulted roof. Among its caravanserais, the most notable is the Khan El Umdan, which contains an old cannon from the time of Sir Sidney Smith. Of its six mosques, that built by Jazzar Pasha at the end of the 18th century is the most graceful, with its colonnaded courtyard. Under the citadel are the crypts of the residence of the Knights of St John, which remain one of the historic sites of the city. Nearby, ‘Hammam el Basha’ (the Bath of the Pasha) is a museum containing Phoenician glass and other treasures.