The ancient city of Acre, Israel

31Oct08

It’s Friday, and the weekend in Israel is finally upon us and I have a change to decompress a little. Israel’s work week starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday.

Today I drove up north from Haifa to the crusader city of Acre, or Akko, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, the Knights Templar built a citadel and ruled over the old city for a hundred years. Here, the great leaders Richard the Lionheart and Saladin fought against each other. Here, history was changed when Napoleon’s army was defeated by Al-Jazzar and the British. Awesome stuff for history buffs.

The refectorium in the Knights Templar citadel

The refectorium in the Knights Templar citadel in Acre, Israel

One of the reasons to visit Acre was to check out the souk or market. Upon turning onto the street, smells of fish and spices assailed me. Now this is a market. All sort of meats, fish, baked goods, housewares, illegal CDs and DVDs, and hookahs are sold here.

Colorful spices sold at the souk or market

Colorful spices sold at the souk or market in Acre, Israel

A friend of mine met up for lunch at what is considered one of the best hummus places in Israel, Hummus Said. It was packed. When we finally got a table and order, we were brought a plate each of raw onions, tomatoes and peppers, fresh, hot pita bread, and a heaping bowl of hummus. THe hummus was excellent, but unlike the people around me, I must admit having a hard time finishing it. Heck, I normally have hummus only as a side dish! I now understand the hummus jokes in “Don’t Mess with the Zohan” — I can almost see them brushing their teeth, and combing their hair with this stuff!

I tried to play around with more panorama shots in Acre, and found that my technique isn’t always right — I don’t always rotate around the nodal point, I don’t keep the exposure constant throughout, and I don’t keep the camera horizontal as I pan across. This led to odd graduations in the images, registration issues with near and far objects, and undesired cropping (see top of mosque tower below). I definitely need more practice here.

Panorama of the El-Jazzar mosque

Panorama of the El-Jazzar mosque in Acre, Israel

Check out the rest of the gallery here.

Tomorrow I head to Jerusalem.

Shalom.

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