Al-Jazzar Mosque (the White Mosque) is the largest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem. In it, you can find a sacred relic – hair from the beard of the Prophet Mohammed. Let’s begin exploring!
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On One Foot
The el-Jazzar Mosque, also known as the White Mosque, is located on el-Jazzar Street inside the walls of the old city of Acre, overlooking the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and is named after the Ottoman Bosnian governor Ahmad Pasha el-Jazzar (“the Butcher”).
First of all, let’s start with spelling. Most websites, including Old Acre Development Company, spell the name as Al-Jazzar Mosque. But Wikipedia and the sign at the mosque say El-Jazzar Mosque.
This site is also known as the White Mosque. The color of the dome was silvery-white that glittered at a great distance. Today the dome is colored in green.
Old Acre is the old part of the modern city of Acre. And Al-Jazzar Mosque, as many other tourist attractions are located within Old Acre.
Map of the area:
- In the map above the Al-Jazzar Mosque is marked under number #31.
- You can click on the map to enlarge it.
This is an active mosque. It is closed during time of the prayers.
If it is closed for prayer, you will see the appropriate sign at the entrance (same as in the photo above). And since the time of five daily prayers determined by the Sun’s position in the sky, the opening hours change daily. Therefore, if the mosque is closed, visit one of the other attractions nearby (see Acre for additional details) and retry later.
The entrance fee is 10 NIS per person. You buy the tickets at the gate, and I think they accept cash only.
The sign at the entrance says: “Visitors should be properly dressed.” And the general rule for holy places is modest clothes, usually covering shoulders and knees.
On one of our visits, my wife wore a sleeveless shirt. The cashier offered us some scarves for the duration of our visit. And after putting it on, we entered.
Al-Jazzar Mosque, which is known in Arabic as Jama El-Basha (the Pasha’s Mosque), was also formerly known as Jama El-Anwar (the Mosque of Lights), according to the Vakfiye of Ahmed Al-Jazzar Pasha. It is Israel’s largest mosque outside of Jerusalem and the largest one among the mosques built in Israel during the Turkish period. The building dominates Acre’s skyline to this very day.
Based on the Arabic inscription engraved over the front door, the mosque was inaugurated around 1781 AD (1196 according to the Hijra calendar, which begins with the emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina), i.e., in the early years of Al-Jazzar Pasha’s rule in Acre.
Source: Old Acre Development Company
The map of Jezzar Pasha Mosque compound:
As you can see from the map, this complex also includes a library (#6) and a small graveyard with Jazzar Pasha’s tombs and his adoptive son (#3).
On one of our visits to the Al-Jazzar Mosque, a local man approached us and offered some guidance. Since it was not my first time and it was a family visit, we refused. You can also say yes, but keep in mind that he will be asking for a tip.
As we enter the mosque, I want to mention the sacred relic that is kept on the second floor of this mosque. And the relic is hair from the beard of the Prophet Mohammed.
But unfortunately, visitors do not have access to the second floor.
And here is the relevant news brief from 1981:
The Al-Jazzar mosque in Acre, built in 1781 by Ahmad Al-Jazzar (the butcher) Pasha and held to be the most beautiful in Israel, was reopened yesterday after renovations paid for mainly by the government. The ceremony was attended by President Yitzhak Navon and hundreds of Jewish, Moslem, Christian, and Druze spiritual leaders, judges, and heads of Arab local councils. One of the most sacred relics held by the mosque and on display in a glass cabinet is a hair from the beard of the Prophet Mohammed.
The compound around Jezzar Pasha Mosque has these lovely passageways:
Al-Jazzar Mosque is the largest mosque in Israel outside of Jerusalem. But the average duration of my last several visits is about half an hour. And if you are not into photography, then your visit is likely to be shorter. Thus I do not go to Acre only for this site, and instead, visit it together with other places in the Old City. And you can find information about additional attractions in my Acre guide.
Have you ever been to the Al-Jazzar Mosque? Tell us in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.