Acre’s Aqueduct

Two thousand years the people were building aqueduct to supply water to the city Acre. And those aqueducts were still in use until 1948! The old city of Acre (Akko) required a steady flow of running water. In the earlier stage of the city, the adjacent Naaman (Belus) river supplied this flow, and was the symbol of the city as minted on the Greek coins.

Aqueduct
Aqueduct

However, when the population grew and the city moved to its present location, a new construction of an aqueduct was required. This water line was built on an aqueduct, bringing in the water from the northern springs of Cabri, about 14 km. away from the city.

The springs are 70 m. high while the city is at sea level, so the slope of the aqueduct is a 5 m. drop along each kilometer (rate of 0.5%). There were several aqueducts constructed over the 2,000 years, running in different routes from Cabri springs to the thirsty city.

Aqueduct
Aqueduct

The oldest line was constructed during the Hellenistic period, while the modern one – which is visible today in various stations along the route – was built 200 years ago and supplied the water until 1948.

On the outskirts of Acre the Ottoman open canal aqueduct was converted to a closed system, based on siphon towers and modular stone units. After passing the walls, the aqueduct supplied the water in several lines in the city, and one of them reached to vast underground cisterns the El-Jazar Mosque in the center of the old city. Several dozens of sebils (water fountains) distributed the waters throughout the Ottoman city.

An early aqueduct was built in the Hellenistic period. From this aqueduct, which was mostly underground, several sections were discovered, including a Kilometer long section near Ness Harim, and two more sections in Kibbutz Lochamei Hagetaot.

A new aqueduct was built in the end of the 18th century AD by Jezzer Pasha, the Ottoman builder of Acre. It was rebuilt by his son, Suleiman, in 1814-1815 AD. The aqueduct was in operation until 1948AD.

The majority of the aqueduct was based on a raised open canal, which was constructed above arches or above a raised sandstone mound. The water flowed down from the higher springs towards the city. The channel, about 0.5 m. wide and 0.8 deep, was coated with plaster.

Aqueduct
Aqueduct

In order to regulate the water flow, a series of siphon towers were built along the path of the aqueduct. The water from the aqueduct was raised up with the pressure of the incoming water, and stored in a pool. The waters then continued with the power of gravity to the next tower and finally to the water outlets in the city. The internal tower pipes were based on round ceramic pipes.

The underground pipes were based on modular stone units that held the pressure of the water and were easy to replace.

Aqueduct
Aqueduct

3 Comments

  1. The special thing about the aqueducts is that it’s so old and that it was still in use (partly) until 1948! It’s amazing.
    There was so much invested in this master piece of water engineering started more then 2,000 years ago.

    Like

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