Archaeological and historic conservation has become an issue of growing concern and focus in Israel. New regulations, legislation and raised awareness have led to the need for trained personnel, to work in public and private institutions to devise and uphold accepted standards of historic building preservation.
In 2005, The Israel Antiquities Authority, the Old Akko Development Company, and the Akko Municipality joined forces and founded the International Conservation Center. The Center's main goal is to provide training in all preservation and conservation professions. Programs focus on both the theoretical and the practical aspects of conservation. The Center is situated in the Old City of Acre, which is a veritable living laboratory for the study and practice of conserving historic sites and structures.
The Center serves as a place of study for researchers in the field, as well as for students, from Israel and abroad, providing them with hands-on conservation experience. Additional programs and activities reflect and feature Acre's rich cultural heritage, and open up new employment opportunities for the city's residents.
The continued development of the center is due to fruitful cooperation between the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Cultural Ministry of the Italian Government. In 2009 the mayor of Rome Giovanni Alemano decided to devote the prestigious "Dan David" award to the Center as a commemoration of the Italian activities in San Giovanni di-Acre during the Middle Ages. This collaboration provides the Center the privilege of having highly trained specialists and consultants from Italy and contributes to the future conservation in Israel by developing the profession of conservation.
B. The Building
The building of the International Conservation Center is situated on the southern edge of the Old City of Acre, next to the city wall, in a building that offers remarkable views of Haifa Bay.
It is a spacious, two-storey, 19th century residence, with an area of 1,000 square meters. The building's massive pillars and impressive supporting vaults suggest that part of the structure may date back to the Crusader Period, when this sector formed part of the autonomous Pisan Quarter.
The upper floor, which once housed one of the wealthy families of Acre, is replete with architectural elements typical of a Lebanese house, i.e., a central hall plan, where the rooms open to face a central salon, which is decorated with marble floors, pillars and decorative wooden ceilings.
In recent decades, the building housed a youth hostel, later vacated. Neglect and improper use have damaged the structure and its special features. Various training programs focus on practical and artistic conservation of the architectural elements in the building itself
Back to top