Among one of the primordial cities in Israel, Acre (Akko) is a Crusader-era port town, situated in the north of the country. The coastal town is a unique melting point of East and West, well complemented with magnificent structures, testaments to the Crusader and Ottoman periods. Mosques and Christian monasteries alongside underground passages and high-walled alleys make it mysterious and unique to explore. The remarkable fortified city walls, Turkish baths, halls built by Knights Templar and Crusader buildings are the undeniable examples of historic architectural proficiency.
There is no more of a quintessential example of coexistence of humanity than the village of Abu Gosh, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The Muslim village is home to a Romanesque and early Gothic-style 12th-century Crusader church, today a Benedictine Monastery, where Jews, Christians and Muslims sing prayers together in Hebrew. The monastery is run by a group of priests and nuns with shared co-operation with the local Muslim population, which makes the place unique across the region. Notably, the Abu Gosh village, built during Ottoman period, has also become Israel’s hummus capital in recent years.
Apart from the walled city from the Israelite monarchic period in Tel Be’er Sheva, a UNESCO Heritage Site, the desert capital comprises numerous sites of historic importance from the Ottoman Period to the British mandate. Founded more than more 3700 years ago, when the biblical father of the Jewish people, Abraham, arrived there, present-day Be’er Sheva houses centuries-old structures such as the Governor’s House, now the Negev Museum of Art, and Government House, today a police station. The Turkish railway station and hundred-year-old traditional Bedouin market are among the main attractions, which can easily take visitors back to the monarchic-cum-colonial era.
This museum helps to get a better sense of the detriment of Holocaust survivors who came from Poland and Lithuania decades ago. After leaving behind everything they had, they found refuge at Lohamei Ha’Getaot (The Ghetto Fighter). Situated between the town of Acre and Nahariya, Lohamei Ha’Getaot abodes Getto Fighters’s House Museum, dedicated to those who fought against the Nazis during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which is first of its kind in the world. This Kibbutz naturally reminds visitors of the grief and bravery of Holocaust survivors who re-established their lives in a small village in Northern Israel at the foothills of the Galilee after escaping from the Nazis. The Kibbutz also encompasses an aqueduct built in 1815 during the Ottoman period, one of the engineering masterpieces of its time.
Among lesser-known but imperative heritage sites is the Talmudic-era town Katsrin, located in the heart of Golan Heights and surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. The town embraces the archeological sites of the Middle Bronze Age, vindicating the 4,000-year-old Jewish settlements. Amidst the serenity of the Golan, it is easy to imagine the prosperity of ancient civilizations that once inhabited the town, which boasts a magnificent 6th-century synagogue. The remains of the ancient village and reconstructed homes definitely transport visitors to the Talmudic alleyways.