You may never have heard of Sepphoris but this former Roman city has some fantastic mosaics. Also known as Tzippori or Zippori , this archaeological site in the Western Galilee has been excavated over the last 30 years revealing wonderful treasures. Ignored by tour buses, I had the site to myself and could enjoy the best and most extensive collection of ancient mosaic art in Israel.
Posts from the ‘Israel’ Category
I am captivated by street food and open food markets. Sliding into already crowded streets, the colors, smells, and variety of the stalls are fantastic for exploring and getting to know a new destination. Cities and regions can be defined by their offerings. The character of the street food reveals something about a place and its culture.
I wrote recently about the old historic core of Acre (or Akko), Israel which is packed with Crusader era ruins. Since Acre is mostly a day-tripper’s destination, we stayed a night in the only accommodations in the old city – a youth hostel. Apparently you can’t dig anywhere in the Acre without discovering an archaeological site! I was surprised to find that our youth hostel had its own set of ruins on site and did an excellent job exhibiting them as natural elements of the hostel premise.
For approximately the 12th and 13th century, Acre (or Akko) served as the capitol of the Crusader kingdom of Palestine. A valuable port city on the Mediterranean, Acre received soldier and supplies as waves of European warriors landed. This city also prospered as a trading hub between Europe and the near East. The old city of Acre and the Crusader structures therein are well preserved and provide a glimpse into this bloody period of history. But what I found in Acre was a well established historical city with elegant architecture suggesting a more stable community during a very violent period in the region.
Some cities like Bruges, Rouen, and Sienna are locked into one architectural style. Huge swings in economic prosperity followed by war or plague created these time-capsule cities preserving their perfect medieval core. But this kind of preserved architectural purity can still happen!
A huge wave of Jewish immigrants from Europe landed in Israel in the 1930’s. Moving just North along the coast from Jaffa, these new residents build the city of Tel Aviv. Skilled architects and brilliant modern designers created the city in the Bauhaus, or International Style. Originally an industrial design ascetic which focused on pure lines, simplified geometric forms, and maximal utility, the Bauhaus concepts developed into a unique and thoroughly modern sytle. Much of “old” Tel Aviv was built during this period which has resulted one of the most consistent modern architectural neighborhoods in the World. In 2003 UNESCO recognized this so called “White City” as a World Heritage Site For visitors, its a living museum of pure Bauhaus.