Day 8: Akko and Rosh HaNikra
Another UNESCO World Heritage site visited today, the crusader city of Akko. It is spelled three different ways ( including Acre). Ibrahim is a deep lover of all things historical and could go on for hours making history come alive. But he also knows when to stop ( usually when our eyes glaze over 😜😜) and today combined a lot of important history with the beauty of nature.
A huge section of the old city is the Citadel—the ruins of a complex of buildings built for the Crusaders in about 1099. We walked through the Church, and Knights’ Halls, a series of vaulted halls below street level where they lived, had a marketplace, and worshipped. (The Crusaders were mostly monks who were dissatisfied with their lives and were promised wealth and land to join the cause).
We saw the courtyard, discovered when an early 20th century attempted Ottoman prison escape went south literally (ha ha), and they dug right into the ruins of the Crusaders Citadel.
These civilizations were built right on top of one another as we also know from archeological digs in other countries.
Another room was the Refectory, or dining room.
Leaving the Citadel, we began our walk through the town. We immediately ran into a roadblock. They were filming a movie on the street and wouldn’t let us through! Ibrahim pushed his way through, otherwise we would have had to walk an extra mile or so around.
Now on track, we visited a former Turkish Bathhouse. The Ottomans brought this custom to the Mideast and greatly improved the hygiene of those times.
Walking towards the market, we passed Arab homes. Arabs are required to make a "hadj" and this home was proudly displaying the banner they received when doing so. It is also a status symbol.
In Haifa, we mentioned earlier, most Jews and Arabs coexist in harmony. This was true here at one time. In recent years, unfortunately, this has not been the case.
A 40 minute drive north left history behind and brought us literally to the border of Lebanon and the town of Rosh HaNikra, a scenic spot on the Mediterranean.
Taking a cable car down a steep incline we followed a path into a cave to view about four or five little grottos hidden in niches in the rocks. Blue Grotto aside, these were gorgeous and a nice reminder of how beautiful nature can be.
We relaxed on the hour trip back to Haifa where we took a walk and stopped for some pizza for dinner— kind of a nice change of pace from mid eastern food.