Tucked away in Acre's Old City lies a hidden gem. One that is just
waiting to be discovered. On first inspection, the recently developed
Turkish Bazaar may look like any other market alley filled with shops
and food stalls but a closer inspection reveals a special project that
is attempting to put Acre on the map once again.
A recent visit
to the bazaar, which was originally established in the Ottoman period in
the 18th century, revealed a bustling center of a few intimate stalls,
all operated by passionate people with fascinating individual stories of
The 100-meter long row of shops and stalls has
recently undergone an extensive restoration and renovation process,
making sure to preserve the unique features of the historical site.
design, a premium snack bar, luxury cheeses, a coffee shop, an art shop
and an ice cream parlor are just some of the attractions on offer.
Cohen, manager of the bazaar, explains that this particular section of
the market had been closed for a number of years and about eight months
ago works were completed to restore it to its former glory.
was painstakingly renovated and restored," he explains. "We wanted to
try to maintain the original features, while bringing the bazaar into
the 21st century."
While the bazaar is located in the heart of
the Old City's market, Cohen insists that it is worlds apart from the
Acre that people are familiar with. "The bazaar has a more boutique feel
to it. We are appealing to a different market."
One of the most
popular outlets at the bazaar is the authentic Turkish-style coffee shop
Badar Han, which imports top quality coffee from some of the best
coffee-growing countries in the world. Guests sit on low chairs in a
small corner of the bazaar and are served their drinks in traditional
glasses from authentic silver trays.
Badar Han is not just about
the coffee; there is also a selection of baklava and other pastries on
offer, as well as fresh herbs and spices.
Perhaps one of the most
stand-out stalls in the bazaar is Kukushka premium snack bar by Gil
Roditi, where he serves handmade sausages, calamari and shrimps, chips,
as well as locally-brewed beer.
Roditi explains that he is
offering a new concept that hasn't been seen yet in Israel, and
certainly not in the North. "We provide European street food with
touches of Tel Aviv and the wider Middle East," he says.
explains that he has worked in some of the best restaurants in Tel Aviv,
but is happy with the more relaxed paced in Acre. "I've received a lot
of positive feedback and so far I am very happy to be a part of this
special project," he says.
Staying on the food theme, cheese
maker Sarit Regev provides her own unique brand of French-inspired local
cheeses from Avirim Forest. Regev, who studied in France and Italy but
is now based in based in the Gallil, creates homemade cheeses that are
suited to the Israeli market.
There is a lot more to her intimate
stand at the bazaar than just cheese. Regev is a keen social activist
and makes sure to include children from the local community in her
projects. Six months ago she set up a project whereby children with
special needs helped with the cheese-making process. "It's important to
give everyone a fair chance. We do much more than just make cheese, we
help the community as much as possible," she explains.
something a little sweeter, boutique ice cream parlor Bouza offers
quality homemade ice cream. Adam Ziv, the man behind the ice cream, has
always been a fan of the frozen good stuff and even went to Europe in
order to lean how to make it from the professionals.
that he only uses ingredients from the local area and that freshness is
a must. "I've wanted to make ice cream for a while and I think that
Acre is a perfect place to do it," he says. "I am very optimistic about
the Bazaar and I really like the atmosphere here."
As well as
food, the bazaar also boasts exclusive art and jewelry shops including
one run by jewelry designer Atara Katzir, who is a graduate of Wizo Art
School. She is very proud to show off all of her handmade creations, as
well as describing what an honor an it is to be a part of such a special
project.The Turkish Bazaar, 1 Weizman Street, Old City, Acre
Open everyday from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.
and eating can be a tiring sport, so relaxation is a key ingredient to
an all-round successful trip to Acre. That's where authentic Turkish
bath Hamam Ghattas comes in.
The man behind the project is Amil
Ghattas, who was born and raised in Acre's Old City. A colorful and
passionate character, Ghattas says that with the opening of the Turkish
bath, his dream has come true.
Ghattas, who invested nearly NIS 6
million in the project, says that he wants to offer a luxurious and
classy experience in surroundings that are as authentic as possible.
well as wanting Hamam Ghattas to be successful, he says that the
project is also intended to bring more tourists to Acre so they can
discover the history and beauty of his hometown as well as learn about
the rich cultural heritage. Ghattas feels it is important to give back
to the city that has given him so much, and expresses this though
various charity and community projects.
The luxury Turkish bath,
housed in an original Ottoman building, has been painstakingly renovated
and restored to its original state. The authentic and original features
alongside the most modern and luxurious equipment offer an all-round
The renovations began in 2009 and very close attention was paid to preserving many of the unique architectural features.
2012 the renovation works were finally completed and the bath was
opened to the public. It includes two floors of indulgence with the
ground floor housing a large traditional seating area, steam room,
massage table as well as separate changing areas, lockers, bathrooms and
showers for men and women. The top floor includes a dry sauna, private
massage room, warmed seating area, two massage beds and underfloor
The complex can be rented by groups or couples (NIS 250
per person), but reservations need to be made in advance. The full
treatment lasts up to three hours and includes various massages, skin
treatments as well as fruit and drink.
Ghattas has a team of
experienced male and female masseuses who give all the traditional
treatments. They offer a very authentic experience, very similar to that
found in traditional Turkish baths. The whole experience is extremely
relaxing and leaves guests feeling invigorated and refreshed.Hamam Ghattas
Open every day from 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Phone: (04) 689-7462, 050-833-5210
Website: http://www.GhattasBath.comThe writer was a guest of the attractions
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