Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Visit to Acco and Haifa, 2008

Akko is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, dating back to the time of the Pharaoh Thutmose III (1504-1450 BCE ). (It is mentioned once in the Bible.) Currently, over 46,000 people live in the city, with a mix of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Bahais. It was once a major port but now is mainly home to small fishing boats.
We saw the fishermen repairing their nets toward the end of the day.


After stopping in Zichron, we all drove to Acco. Unfortunately, the two cars did not follow each other, so we spent an hour, wandering around the walls of the old city of Acco until we finally met up with Ira and his passengers! It was Friday afternoon, already a bit late, so we didn't see much except for parts of the old city and a lot of the walls. The walls were built in the mid-18th century and then fortified by the Turks later.
Entrance to old city from southern parking lot

Map of Old Acco
Howard and Beth climbing to top of ramparts

Cannon on ramparts (earth-filled wall)

Dried moat around wall

When Napoleon tried to go north (after coming up the coast from Egypt after the British had destroyed his fleet in the battle of the Nile), he was stopped at Acco.

Park built in memory of the defeat of Napoleon

Old and new

We passed a spice store where I bought several types of zatar.

We eventually caught up with the rest, walked along the northern wall,
And Beth and Chelsey had their picture taken by the stone whale sculpture

We went through the Shuk as it was closing,
chicken necks, etc. in garbage from restaurant in market waiting to be picked up

Hookas Hooka in use

and spent ten shekels each ($3) to go out in a covered motorboat to see Acco from the Sea.
Howard, Beth & Ira in boat Boat "driver", Hila and Ariel

Edge of old pier in bay Acco beach from water
Boys jumping into bay

Walls viewed from water
As we walked back to our cars, we passed the entrance to the biggest prison that the British had. Unfortunately, it was already closed for the day. We also passed the entrance to the El Jazzar Mosque. The others waited while Howard and I paid a few shekels and went to the mosque's courtyard.



We did not go inside because people were praying

After leaving Acco, we traveled to Haifa where we wound around the curvy streets on one of the high hills there until we found our hotel, the Dan Gardens, which is about a quarter of a mile down the road from the top of the Bahai Temple Gardens. The night view was amazing.

And the next morning we were treated to a stunning view of Haifa bay and the Bahai Temple and Gardens.
We walked up to the Carmel shopping center to see it in daylight before heading down to the National Maritime Museum, near the southern end of Haifa, close to the Mediterranean. We found the museum fascinating, depicting maritime history from 4000 years ago to the present in the regon. It was started in the mid-1950s from the private collection of the first director, Aryeh Ben-Eli. The following are a few pictures that show a smattering of what we saw.
Entrance to Maritime Museum
model of papyrus boat AnchorsDrawing of early wooden anchor

King Sahure ancient Egyptian ship held together
by rope
drawing on tomb wall of how Sahure's ship worked

Clay pot recovered from sunken ship

Map of ancient Israel

Fish show seas ships traveled in

Ancient helmet

Tin from sunken ships

Metal ram on front of Greek "battle" ship

Zim Lines passenger ship

From the museum, we drove south, passing high tech offices such as Microsoft and Google. We decided to drive close to the water, and eventually got off the main road, looking for a less foreign touristy restaurant near the beach. We went through some smaller communities, driving in and out of townlets. We were finally reached a dead-end and had to turn around. But I quickly turned my dismay into excitement. We had ended up at Hadassah-Neurim, a boarding school for troubled Israeli teens, the same place that Nadav had volunteered for 6 weeks in 1998 as part of his Young Judaea Year Course. So I jumped out of the car, took the picture, and later sent it to my son!

We ended up eating on the beach at Acco, sitting outside and watching the beach and the people walking by.

We had some rather unusual appetizers, including fresh almonds. What we normally know as the outside shell had not hardened yet, so we were able to eat it. After the long drive, Howard really enjoyed his beer.

The meal was delicious...the day and the two-day trip ended on a lovely note.

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