Glimpses of Israel - Acre

by Joseph Hunting

Recently I stood on the beautifully curving coastline just south of Acre and my eyes drank in the beauty and tranquillity of the scene. Just across the gentle arc of the bay Acre appeared like a fairy-book town. Castellated ramparts had guarded Acre since the times of the Crusaders and embedded in the walls were cannon balls, left there since Napoleon's invasion of the Holy Land. Slender minarets from the famous mosque complete the scene of old-world beauty.

There are some places in Israel where it is not hard to let the centuries drop away -- where the past seems to have invaded the present and taken over. Sailors ferrying the vast rafts of cedar logs from Lebanon to beautify Solomon's Temple made ancient Akko a port of call. Phoenician sailors accidentally produced glass on these shores three thousand years ago when they lit their fires on the beach along this stretch of coastline.

In New Testament times Acre was called Ptolemais and was a port of call on the Apostle Paul's journey to Rome. After the Crusader occupation, of which there is still much evidence, a khan is a reminder of the important role this city played in commerce during the Ottoman occupation which extended over four hundred years.

Just north of the moat which once surrounded the ancient walled city, a Taggart fort was built by the British during turbulent times when Britain administered Palestine during the Mandate period.

It has been said that Acre's clocks stopped centuries ago. Certainly, modern jet-age progress has by-passed many areas of this living link with Israel's past.