Knight with a Sword – Akko, Israel
Watercolor, 9 x 12
The Ottoman-era streets of Old Akko with their teeming souks looked truly charming as sunlight dappled upon shop awnings.
A fantastic world lay underneath these cobblestones – an enormous underground city that had been built by the Crusaders. The Knights of St. John had originally been established here in the eleventh century C.E. to care for the sick of Jerusalem. I explored this seemingly endless subterranean world of dining rooms and pillared hallways, dungeons and an elaborate sewage system that crisscrossed under the entire city.
I could also imagine knights clad in mail and armor, exiting the city in a swift march through an escape tunnel that connected the seaport to the ancient fortress, even as invading forces were penetrating the main defenses.
At one point, my son’s movements caught my eye. With only his little plastic shark for protection, he looked awed, even overwhelmed by the enormity of the vaulted ceilings and the somberness of the place. Yet behind him, the morning sun had found expression through the arched entrance, lightening up the mood of the moment.