Israel pictures (Galilee, Golan, Rosh HaNiqra, Akko, Nazareth)

Finally, after working many years with IAESTE trainees in Rostock, I managed to find time for an IAESTE traineeship myself. In August and September 2003 I spent 6 weeks at the Engineering Faculty of the Tel Aviv University at coast of the south-eastern Mediterranean Sea. While working in the group of Prof. Avi Gover on optical design problems, I tried to get to know as much of Israel as possible in the short time of my stay.

The pictures below are from our trip to the North of Israel where we visited Tiberias at the Sea of Galilee (German: See Genezareth), the Golan heights, the Banias National Park, Zefat/Safed, Rosh HaNiqra, Akko and Nazareth. Click on the other Israel categories above to see pictures from other places in Israel.

Jiri Vass, an IAESTE trainee from Czechia staying in Haifa, has taken a large number of pics which you can browse on his site.

Click on the picture to see the full-size images.


Visitor Information Center in Zefat/Safed. This building is from the Ottoman period and was constructed for the Turkish administration.

The lively main road in the center of the old part of Zefat with many small shops and restaurants.

Zefat lies on the slopes of a mountain and there are many narrow passage ways and stairs.

Remains of the "Metzuda" (citadel) of Zefat which played a key role in the a fights between the Arabs and the Jews in 1948.

The small Jewish quarter was attacked from here and only after intense fightings could the Jewish fighters conquer the "Metzuda" (see explanation on information board on next picture).

Description of the fall of the "Metzuda" during the Independence War in 1948.

View from the citadel over the old part of Zefat to the Galileean mountains in the west.

Stairs leading down to the artist´s quarter.

At many places one can see rich and beautiful flowering bushes and trees.

The artist´s quarter consists of a few streets around a central square.

The streets and houses are in very good shape and every second house is used as gallery for one of many local artists.

Central square in the artist´s quarter. Although there are many old houses, there are also a number of new modern houses which form quite a contrast to their surroundings.

In the old quarter of Zefat, most houses are built from natural stones and some of the walls are painted in strong colours like this one.
   

Warning sign close to the valley of the Gideon Stream on the foot of the Golan heights.

View up the gentle slopes of the Golan heights. In the foreground one can see the valley of the Gideon Stream; filled by rich vegetation and huge trees while the rest of the land is very dry.

Remains of a small settlement/farm on the rim of the Gideon Stream valley. The valls bear the marks of shooting; probably from one of the wars with Syria or from military training.

Devorah waterfall of the Gideon Stream.

View down the Gideon Stream valley from the Devorah waterfall. Only in the bottom of the valley where the stream flows many trees are growing.

Cactus fruits on the slopes of the Gideon Stream valley.

Another view of the Devorah waterfall...

...which is hidden behind large rocks and trees and bushes.

Gideon Stream below the Devorah waterfall. The little stream follows its bed between stones, bushes and reed. To the left, Oliver from Mexico and Selime from Turkey are taking a rest.

On the dry plane, we discovered this. Do you see the little lizzard ? He has exactly the same colour as his surroundings and is really hard to see when he is not moving.

Our little travel group during this weekend. In the background you see the slopes of the Golan heights (see also next picture).

From right to left: Oliver from Mexico, Selime from Turkey and me.

View from Tiberias to the north over the Sea of Galilee (dt: See Genezareth).
   

The fertile grounds of the Hula valley in the planes north of the Sea of Galilee between the Golan and the Galileean heights. In the background one can see the Mt. Hermon in the haze.

While the valley grounds are used for agriculture, banana plantings and orchards, the slopes of the Galileean heights are very dry.

The Hula National Park is not far from hear and one of the parts of Israel with the richest wildlife and is resting place for many migratory birds.

Valley of the Banias National Park with the parts of the Mt. Hermon mountain range in the back.

Mt. Hermon mountain range with the Nimrod castle on one of the smaller hills and the valley of the Banias National Park in the foreground.

Another view of the Nimrod castle. To the right of the castle the slopes lead eventually up to the Golan heights plateau.

View of the slopes of the Golan heights looking south-east from the Banias National Park.

The stream of the Banias National Park resembles to streams one can find in the German mountains.

And close to the stream, there are many big trees and dense bushes that take advantage of the water.

It is a totally different world down in the valley compared to the dry planes just 30m up.

A waterfall like this, I would never have expected while driving through very dry areas to come to this place.

Another picture that could as well be from Germany or Norway. The stream is bordered bei rich vegetation making use of the water so sparsely found elsewhere.

When walking along the stream, we passed a number of old flour mills driven by water power (see drawing on next picture).

The mills used a special horizontal wheel thus avoiding the use of complicated transmission lines.

The Pan cave with the remains of a Pan temple at the spring of the Banias National Park river.

Later the Romans added more temples at the same site for other gods besides Pan.

The spring pond of the Banias National Park river. The rain falling on the Mt. Hermon mountain range seeps away through the many gaps in the limbstone and finally emerges at its foot in this and other springs.
 

View from the Rosh HaNiqra cliffs above the village of Rosh HaNigra towards the south-east.

View from the Rosh HaNiqra cliffs along the shore line of the Mediterranean Sea.

Drawing on the wall of a building at the (closed) Israeli-Lebanese border station of Rosh HaNiqra.

The limbstone cliffs of Rosh HaNiqra. There are several different layers with different layers...

...of which the lowermost is hardest and resists the sea longest while the layer on top of it is crushed by the sea and the waves to form the famous caves of Rosh HaNiqra.

To get from the cliff top to the caves, a 102m long cable car was constructed by a company from Austria.

The day before there had been a little storm on the Mediterranean Sea and there were still some large waves coming in and producing a lot of sea spray.

The sea shapes the cliffs and creates many different gaps, holes and caves.

Looking north out on the Mediterranean Sea. In the middle, the lower station of the cable car is disguised as yet another big rock.

View from the cliff to the south along the shoreline.

Inside the cliffs, an artificial tunnel provides access to the caves.

When a big wave is hitting the walls of the cave, one has to step back in time to avoid getting totally soacked by the sea.

This innermost part of the caves was closed because the waves were flooding the platform.

Looking from the outside, one does not see much of the cave inside the cliffs.

The different colors of the stone mark the different layers.

Another narrow cave; the walls are only that bright because of the flash light.

Without flash, it looks even more scary. But since we visited the caves quite late, the sun was already standing very low and even reaching into some of the caves.
 

The city of Akko (arab: Acre) lies 20km north of Haifa and has been the main port for the crusaders in the Holy Land. After the crusader´s defeat by the Arabs, Akko was totally destroyed. In the 18th century, it was fortified by the Egyption mamelukes. On this picture one can see the ditch between the two walls of the fortifications.

Remains from the inner ring of the fortifications around the old city. Even Napoleon had to give up his siege in 1799 after two months without conquering Akko.

The "Al Jazzera" mosque that was built by one of the sheiks reigning in Akko.

The mosque is surrounded by a beautiful yard with flowers, benches in the shadow and nice mosaics on the floor.

This little round pavillon is used for the ritual washings before entering the mosque for praying.

Around the yard of the mosques arcades give shadow from the sun and there are also many rooms that are used in conjuction with the mosque.

Another view of the yard in front of the mosque.

Overview of the old city of Akko. In the 1960´s a society for the old Akko was founded which helped in rebuilding, restorating and refurnishing of the many remains from the past history of the city.

The street between the "Al Jazzera" mosque (to the right) and the citadel (to the left). This is the main tourist entrance of Akko and accordingly there are a number of restaurants and shops.

Entrance to the citadel which was built on the ruins of the crusader castle by the mamelukes and Ottoman rulers of Akko.

This little park with a spring and many large trees is directly behind the entry of the citadel.

The big tower of the citadel, the tallest building in Akko. As the rest of the citadel, it is built on the ruins of the crusader castle which we filled with stones and gravel to serve as basements.

Inside the citadel complex there are many different halls, rooms and hallways.

This is one of the "Knight´s Halls" which were built by the crusaders, later used as stables for cattle and finally filled with stones to serve as basement for the citadel.

There were two rows each consisting of 3 large and high halls...

...some of which are now used as the stage for theatre performances.

When the halls where emptied and cleaned, concrete support columns had to be entered to ensure that the buildings above won´t collapse. This takes away a little bit of authenticity...

...but is done in a way to preserve as much as possible of the original look and atmosphere.

This yard as well as the stairway had been filled up and were only discovered again during the restoration works when digging for the walls of the crusader castle.

This is the dining hall of the knights. According to my guidebook, Marco Polo was dining here when he visited Akko on his journey to the Far East.

The digital camera is very sensitive depending on the exposure settings. The true impression lies somewhere between the extremes of these two pictures.

In one corner of the yard, a small tunnel starts leading from the inner side of the crusader castle to the big church outside the walls of the castle. It crosses underneath several buildings and streets before emerging in the crypt of the church.

The continuation of the tunnel has not been cleared from the rubble. But there are probably some more surprises hidden in the ground below the current Akko as demonstrated by the large "Templer´s Tunnel" system close to the harbour that has only been discovered again in 1999 when trying to locate the cause for a problem with the sewage drain of a house.

The crypt is the only part of the church that is still there. The church itself was demolished after the Arab conquest of the city and other buildings were erected above the crypt.

Wherever you look, there are remains from the different periods of Akko´s past. New houses and buildings were simply constructed on top of or incorporating remains from earlier structures.

The signs on this wall are modern but their form and style connects to the time when the crusaders reigned in Akko and used it as their main port for the Holy Land.

This entrance is a leftover from a Mameluke palast and bears an Arabic inscription praising its owner.

The "Khan al-Umdan" was one of the largest storage buildings for the traders and merchants in Akko.

It is situated very close to the harbour and offered many store rooms for all kinds of goods that were transported by ship to or from Akko harbour.

Today Akko has a small but lively harbour that is used by fishermen to go fishing on the Mediterranean and by tourist vessels offering trips with nice views on the old city from the sea.

All along the sea there were also high walls and fortifications. Large parts of these walls still exist today and teenager can be seen jumping from the walls into the sea below.

Remains of a building/tower on the wall above the sea.

The wall stretches along the shoreline protecting the old city from the waves and (in former times) from attackers coming by ship.

View of the bay between Akko and Haifa with the lighthouse of Akko.

House built on top of arches from former times.
 

City center of Nazareth in the evening sun (eastern part).

City center of Nazareth in the evening sun (western part). The Church of the Annunciation is visible in the right part of the picture with the huge dome.

Main entrance of the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth (composed picture). The latin annunciation written on the wall is repeated below together with its English and German translation from the Bible.


Annunciation to Maria in Latin as written at the entrace to the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth :

SALVE REGINA MATER MISERICORD ET VITA DULCEDO ET SPES NOSTRA SALVE
AD TE CLAMAMUS EXULES FILII HEVAE AD TE SUSPIRAMUS CEMENTES ET FLENTES IN HAC LACPIMARUM VALLE
EJA ERGO AD VOCATA NOSTRA ILLOS TUOS MISERICORDES OCULOS AD NOS CONVERTE
ET JESUM BENEDICTUM FRUCTUM VENTRIS TUI NOBIS POST HOC EXSILIUM
OSTENDE OCLEMENS O PIA O DULCIS VIRGO MARIA


English (from the Bible, Luke 1, verse 28-33) :

The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."


Deutsch (aus der Bibel, Lukas 1, Vers 28-33) :

Und der Engel kam zu ihr hinein und sprach: "Gegrüßet seist du, Holdselige! Der HERR ist mit dir, du Gebenedeite unter den Weibern!"
Da sie aber ihn sah, erschrak sie über seine Rede und gedachte: "Welch ein Gruß ist das?"
Und der Engel sprach zu ihr: "Fürchte dich nicht, Maria! du hast Gnade bei Gott gefunden.
Siehe, du wirst schwanger werden und einen Sohn gebären, des Namen sollst du Jesus heißen.
Der wird groß sein und ein Sohn des Höchsten genannt werden; und Gott der HERR wird ihm den Stuhl seines Vaters David geben;
und er wird ein König sein über das Haus Jakob ewiglich, und seines Königreiches wird kein Ende sein."