21.09.2010 - 21.09.2010
We decided to head north today, toward Haifa, to see the old coastal city of Akko in the Western Galilee region.
The age of this city is somewhat contested. Historians know of an ancient city with a very similar name that may have been this city. If so that would make it 3,500 years old. Akko is mentioned in the New Testiment, so it is at least 2000 years old. It is known most historically as home of the The Crusaders of the Templars order.
The town has over 40,000 people still living there. It is one of the oldest, continually inhabeted places in Israel. The most notable area is the walled fortress of the Crusaders.
They settled in Akko in the 12th century AD after the fall of Jerusalem, and built a fortress on the south-west corner of the old city. The Knight’s Hall is one of the highlights of the site. It is supported by numerous of these massive pillars.
It was impressive, however, the holiday of Sukkot was this week and they were setting up for some event. The spot lights, microphones and speakers kind of took the antiquity out of the experience.
The best part for me was secluded from the holiday events. It was the Templar Tunel. They cut a half-mile long tunnel into the rock to connect the fortress to the port, located on the south-eastern side. The secret tunnel was recently discovered, cleaned and opened to the public.
The tunnel is only a few feet tall. And here we are.
The city is a great place to take photos.
Nearby is a beautiful mosque. It’s name is the Great Mosque of Al-Jazzār. Just the name sounds cool. Inside was impressive.
And the courtyard area was very peaceful with the sound of birds that make this area home. You can see the outline of the mosque in the shadow.
After our day in Akko, we stopped by Haifa for dinner. The city is one big hill with the BaHai Gardens at the top. Warning: stock photo alert.
We stopped at a nice place Steve knew about and ate some local cuisine.
It may not look like much, but it was really good, and a nice way to end our day.