Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Templar tunnel, Akko

 Here I am waiting for the tunnels to open. I met this Japanese girl who was also waiting. She took my picture and I took hers.

The crusaders built this tunnel and it is still there in its original condition.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The port of Akko

In the crusader days ships carrying crusaders from all over Europe comes in through here but today small boats are moored in the harbor. These are the boats used by fishermen.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Akko (Acre)

A crusader stronghold in its hey days, it has a port and ships carrying crusaders came into the Holy land through here. It was their capital. It was named St John d'Acre after the knights Hospitalier of St John. After the fall of Jerusalem it became a Muslim enclave but Israel captured it back in 1948 and since then hordes of Jewish people from Russia and the Ukraine has been settling here. Today the old city is predominantly Muslim and nearby are the Jewish and the Christians.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Stella Maris church

 Its high on a hill and the view of Haifa harbor is just spectacular.

 I got lost, I took the bus this way and that until I finally found this place. It was closed at lunchtime when I arrived with a few other people. I sneaked in with a group of women who seems to be regulars. They went to a chapel and I followed. No one suspected that I wasn't with the group.

Inside the chapel were these beautiful frescoes. The door locked after we went in, I had to ask the reception people to open the electric gate to let me out.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Haifa and the German colony

 In the nineteenth century, a group of Germans moved here. They were sent home during the Second World war but the Jewish government did pay them for their property. Today German colony is an upscale neighborhood of Haifa.

I had just arrived by bus from Jerusalem, took a taxi to my hostel which was near the port. Haifa is laid-back and friendly. My first stop after being given all kinds of instructions on how to get around, was to walk to German colony. The weather in February was so pleasant, bright sunshine and clean air.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Last supper in Jerusalem

My last night in Jerusalem, I splurged at dinner choosing this restraint at the Meyane Yehuda market. It evokes memories of Ottolenghi in London, in fact, Yotam Ottolenghi came from Israel.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Dead sea scrolls

 In the 90's Bedouin nomads discovered numerous clay vessels like this in caves in the Qumran area. While I didn't go to Qumran, I did go to see the exhibition of the Dead sea scrolls. Its in an annex of the Israel museum.

The display is very solemn but meaningful. A Jewish group called the Essenes left their community and formed their own in the caves of Qumran. Some of the contents of the clay vessels revealed high quality parchments and papyri with writing. The writing were divided into two types, one of scripture with the whole book of Isaiah and the other were sectarian writing. The sectarian writing were on liturgical services and community living. The dates of these writings were between the third century BCE and before 70 AD (before the destruction of the second temple. It was very impressive. Someone once said, 'its amazing what can be achieved without the television!'