Israel is home to many incredible historical and archaeological sites. With tourism being so popular in the Holy Land, a few of these “ancient” buildings have been re-purposed for anyone looking for a unique overnight accommodation. Check out our seven remarkable “ancient” hotels!
(photo captured above)
Hotel Alegra in Jerusalem’s Ein Karem neighborhood encompasses an authentic crusader inn from roughly 1,000 years ago, as well as a 200-year-old former synagogue across the way. Hebrew University professor Moshe Amirav, who is the owner of the older building (which is now leased to Alegra) states that to the best of his knowledge, the crusader inn is the oldest house in Ein Karem and the oldest hotel still standing in Israel.
The Efendi Hotel
The Efendi Hotel in Akko opened in 2012, combining two 19th century Ottoman-era mansions reconstructed under the supervision of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Artisans were flown in from Italy to restore the hand-painted ceilings, as well as a fresco of the city of Istanbul that was created in 1878 in honor of the new Orient Express train station. The hotel features a meticulously restored 400-year-old Turkish bath found on site, as well as a wine bar in a renovated wine cellar dating back roughly 900 years into the past.
Ruth Rimonim in the Old City of Safed (Upper Galilee) is a refurbished stone building originally housing a Turkish khan (inn) during the 17th century. It hosts 77 unique and individually decorated rooms.
The Market House Hotel
The Market House Hotel in Jaffa, next to the famous Jaffa Clock Tower and Flea Market, opened in late 2014 and contains the archaeological remains of a Byzantine chapel preserved for viewing underneath the glass floor of the lobby.
Casa Dona Gracia Hotel and Living Museum
Casa Dona Gracia Hotel and Living Museum in Tiberias recreates the Turkish palace of the 16th century Jewish businesswoman, philanthropist, and diplomat Doña Gracia Mendes Nasi (born Beatrice de Luna) in 1510 in Portugal. In 1558, she leased the Tiberias area from the Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent to house Jewish refugees of the Spanish Inquisition. Though the main building is only 25 years old, it is built around a square and four pillars from that Ottoman period, also containing furniture crafted nearly 300 years ago. Each floor in the 66-room hotel is decorated in the style of one of the Renaissance-era cities in which Doña Gracia lived: Lisbon, Antwerp, Venice, and Constantinople.
Villa Tiferet in Safed is a restored 400-year-old building in the Artists Quarter that originally belonged to a complex that included an Eastern Orthodox Church and later, a school. Canadian immigrants Amir and Nicole Bem restored and modernized the structure and opened it for business in 2015, attracting mainly multi-generational families on holiday. The villa sleeps 13 people and has large common areas including a rooftop, two courtyards, a library, a family room with a fireplace, an office, a dining room that seats 16, and a modern kitchen.
Akkotel is built into the walls of the Old City in Akko, a renovated historical building constructed by the Ottoman Turks in the second half of the 18th century to temporarily house army officers. It later became a school and then a courthouse under the British Mandate. After seven years of renovations, Akkotel boutique hotel opened to the public in September of 2007. Sixteen unique rooms are available for accommodations.
Originally posted at Israel21c.