The el-Jazzar Mosque inside the walls of the old city of Acre is named after the Ottoman Bosnian governor Ahmad Pasha el-Jazzar ('the Butcher').
El-Jazzar ordered the mosque's construction in 1781 and had it completed within the year. Despite lacking architectural training, el-Jazzar was the architect of the mosque, drawing up its plans and design, and supervising its entire construction. In addition to the mosque itself, the complex included an Islamic theological academy with student lodging, an Islamic court and a public library. The mosque was built for religious purposes, but its grandiose size and additional functions were also intended by el-Jazzar to serve as a means of consolidating his political legitimacy as ruler of Syria. He modeled the mosque on the mosques of Istanbul, the Ottoman capital.
The el-Jazzar Mosque was built over former Muslim and Christian prayer houses and other Crusader buildings. Building materials for the mosque, particularly its marble and granite components, were taken from the ancient ruins of Caesarea, Atlit and medieval Acre. El-Jazzar commissioned several Greek masons as the mosque's builders. There is a tughra or monogram on a marble disc inside the gate, naming the ruling Sultan, his father, and bearing the legend 'ever-victorious'.
Adjacent to the mosque is a mausoleum and small graveyard containing the tombs of Jazzar Pasha and his adoptive son and successor, Sulayman Pasha, and their relatives.
The mosque is an excellent example of Ottoman architecture, which incorporated both Byzantine and Persian styles. Some of its fine features include the green dome and minaret, a green-domed sabil next to its steps (a kiosk, built by Sultan Abdul Hamid II, for dispensing chilled drinking water and beverages) and a large courtyard.
The mosque, that is dominating Acre's skyline, was originally named Masjid al-Anwar (the 'Great Mosque of Lights') and is also known as the White Mosque because of its once silvery-white dome that glittered at a great distance. The dome is now painted green. The minaret has a winding staircase of 124 steps.
It is the largest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem.
The mosque houses the Sha'r an-Nabi, a hair (or lock of hair) from the beard of the Prophet Muhammad. The Sha'r an-Nabi used to be paraded through Acre on Eid al-Fitr, ending the fast of Ramadan, but is now only shown to the congregation. The relic is kept inside the mosque in a glass cabinet placed at the women's upper floor gallery.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.