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ISRAEL inc. Achzivland

Location - Middle East; Capital - Jerusalem; Population - 7 million; Currency - New Israeli Shekel MORE ISRAEL

In late 2014 I returned to one of my favourite destinations, Israel, for a fourth time, but the first time in over 15 years (where does the time go?!). I also wanted to see Palestine, somewhere I'd never been. After landing at Ben Gurion airport I headed north to Haifa by service taxi - November 2014.


israelnote120 New Israeli Shekels








israel88The undoubted highlight of Haifa are the beautiful Baha'i Gardens


israel89The terraced gardens lead uphill from Ben Gurion Avenue to the Shrine of the Bab - Haifa

israel92Looking seaward down Ben Gurion Avenue from the Baha'i Gardens - Haifa












israel96For a tour of the Baha'i Gardens first head up Mount Carmel and take in the Mediterranean views all the way to Lebanon - Haifa












israel108The Baha'i faith was founded in 19th century Persia by Baha'ullah and has over seven million followers around the world - Haifa


israel107The golden dome of the Shrine of the Bab. The official Baha'i website bestows the title of "Prophet-Herald of the Baha'i" on the Bab - Haifa


israel123Organise a free tour of the gardens. And get ready for climbing a lot of steps! Haifa













israel125 Decorations adorn the Shrine of the Bab - Haifa

















israel129The Gardens and Shrine look superb at night - Haifa


israel135The terraced garden lights follow the curves of the steps upwards - Haifa


israel67Brightening up a Carmelit metro station - Haifa













israel63More art and sculptures are on show in the Wadi Nisnas area - Haifa













israel71The Ursula Malbin Sculpture Garden is a fine spot to rest legs and take in the city views, especially after a steep uphill walk - Haifa


israel73The Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery - Haifa


israel76Take the cable car from near the monastery down to Bat Galim beach - Haifa













israel78Bat Galim promenade leads to Bat Galim beach - Haifa













israel83A short walk uphill from the museum is Elijah's Cave. This grotto is a holy Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze site where the prophet Elijah is said to have taken refuge - Haifa


israel84HaCarmel beach is on the west coast of the peninsula near Hof HaCarmel train and bus stations - Haifa


israel16Akko is an attractive place and an easy day trip from Haifa












israel17The old walled city is predominantly an Arab town - Akko













israel22A great snapshot of the old town as the train comes into Akko


israel19It was a windy, rainswept day and the waves were bashing the seafront - Akko


israel8But of course it's perfect weather for windsurfers - Akko













israel10For a panoramic view take the steps up to the city walls - Akko














israel11The old city dates back to the 12th century, with various additions/renovations made up to the 18th century - Akko


israel28The courtyard of Akko Citadel, the starting place for a visit to the Knights' Halls - Akko


israel24The Knights' Halls were home to the Knights Hospitaller military order, later to be known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta - Akko












israel27A subterranean tunnel in the Knights' Halls was used as an escape route for the knights - Akko













israel33The green-domed Al-Jazzar Mosque - Akko


israel35A brief glimpse of sunshine in the courtyard of Al-Jazzar Mosque - Akko


israel34The old town is a UNESCO world heritage site - Akko













israel38The Turkish Bazaar has plenty of souvenir shops and cafes - Akko













israel37As the old city is mainly a Muslim area it's an ideal destination on a Saturday, when Shabbat means many Jewish areas shut down - Akko


israel40In addition to the bazaar there's the more local-orientated souq - Akko


israel42The Hebrew name for the town is Akko, in Arabic it's Akka while the western version is Acre













israel44The Templar Crusader Tunnel was only dicovered in the 1990s. It linked a Templar palace to the port - Akko













israel46Although Haifa's Baha'i Gardens are top of the beauty stakes, the faith's holiest site is further up the coast at Akko


israel53Baha'ullah, the "Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i", was born in Tehran in modern-day Iran - Akko


israel49Due to his faith Baha'ullah was exiled from Persia and eventually imprisoned in Akko where he died. This is the Shrine of Baha'ullah also known as Bahje House - Akko












israel139An Israeli naval boat patrols the waters at the sensitive border with Lebanon. Facing southwards the coast stretches to Akhziv, Nahariya and fades away to Akko and Haifa - Rosh HaNikra


israel143Israeli soldiers at the entrance to Rosh HaNikra grottoes, a tourist attraction of bright blue Mediterranean water swirling in sea caves - Rosh HaNikra


israel148Surprise surprise this is as far as you can walk. The border remains closed to visitors - Rosh HaNikra












israel151The Israeli flag and a notice stating 'Closed Military Area - Photography is Forbidden'. Oops - Rosh HaNikra












israel147Beirut's a lot closer than Jerusalem - Rosh HaNikra



israel158Many years after coming here when I worked on the nearby Kibbutz Ga'aton, I wanted to revisit the bizarre territory that is Achzivland












israel163Eli Avivi moved to Akhziv in 1970. The following year he proclaimed the independent state of Achzivland in protest at the goverment's intention to bulldoze his home. You could say they weren't pleased..












israel160For a small fee visitors can make use of Eli's private beach, which I read is actually leased from the Israeli government. Barbecues are also popular in the summer months with plenty of Israeli visitors - Achzivland


israel160aLocal fishermen avail themselves of facilities at Achzivland. Achziv Nature Reserve is next door - Achzivland


israel176The ramshackle museum is the perfect definition of 'eclectic' - Achzivland













israel168..Not to mention 'eccentric'. I love it! And of course Eli has a (slightly rundown) dormitory-style hostel on site - Achzivland











akhzivlandGet your passport stamped. Or even buy an Achzivland passport!

BBC write up: Eli Avivi, Rina and Achzivland


israel180Eli's an elderly man now so his wife Rina runs the show with the help of volunteers. Take a taxi or bus from Nahariya heading north less than 5km, it's next to the Achziv Nature Reserve entrance - Achzivland


israel185Earlier in the day I was standing at the headland at Rosh HaNikra - Nahariya













israel190A stall selling falafel, the national food of Israel. Add pita, pickled salad, tahini and hummus for a cheap snack - Nahariya













israel188My first week in Israel was very wet! It wasn't sunbathing weather for sure - Nahariya


israel189Nahariya is a quiet beach resort but it was a nostalgic return as it's the nearest town to Ga'aton, the kibbutz I'd worked at three times before


israel198South of Haifa on the coast are the Roman ruins of Caesarea












israel200As a storm drew closer I tried (and failed miserably) to take this photo with fork lightning as a backdrop - Caesarea












israel207Horses stand at the entrance to the Herodian Amphitheatre - Caesarea


israel211The Herodian Amphitheatre could hold 10,000 spectators - Caesarea


israel208Caesarea was built on the orders of Herod and, as the name suggests, dedicated it to the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar













israel214The sun fights valiantly through the Mediterranean stormclouds - Caesarea













israel220Welcome to the Caesarea Experience and the Crusader Citadel - Caesarea


israel225It's a two-hour bus journey from Haifa to Safed in the Galilee.
Here the ruins of a Crusader fortress lie on the hilltop Citadel Park - Safed













israel229Descending the steps from the park brings you to Jerusalem Street and the former British police station, bullet-ridden following battles in 1948 - Safed












israel230Behind the station is a Davidka Monument, dedicated to the Davidka mortar used in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence - Safed


israel238Ma'alot Olei HaGardom is a staircase built by the British during the Mandate (1920-1948) to separate the Arab and Jewish communities - Safed


israel246Safed (Tsfat or Tzfat in Hebrew) is known for its Artists' Quarter, with several art galleries and studios














israel241..Including this one - Safed














israel253The Synagogue Quarter is a compact, atmospheric pedestrian area of cobbled streets, cafes and art galleries - Safed


israel251Colourful street art in the Synagogue Quarter - Safed


israel249A covered walkway linking the Artists' and Synagogue Quarters - Safed













israel257Inside the Ashkenazi Ari Synagogue - Safed













israel261Walk down the steep valley slope to the Ancient Jewish Cemetery - Safed


israel260The Tombs of the Kabbalists (Kabbalah being a form of Jewish mysticism) are contained in the cemetery, with notables having their tomb painted blue - Safed


israel263More colourful art in the Artists' Quarter - Safed













israel265What is this?! It looks like a giant corkscrew or a work-skip. I'm guessing maybe a kids' playground with staircase? Safed














Website and content Copyright © 2008-2018 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.


LINKS - guide to Akko - bus timetables, including the main bus company Egged - Israel tourist board - train timetables


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