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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Today Inaugurated the “Tel Akko” Tourism Project in the City of Akko. Another Theater is also soon to be Established in the City (3/2/09)



Prime minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, inaugurating the “Tel Akko” tourism project
The prime minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, today inaugurated the “Tel Akko” tourism project, which will present visitors with the rich culture of the city through the different periods of its magnificent past, and received a comprehensive description regarding the development of projects in the field of tourism in the city, which are being carried out at an overall investment of 23 million NIS.

The prime minister said, “I am happy to be standing here, in a place that has such a history of events that have left their stamp on this country, its landscape and the shaping of it. The government of Israel, as part of the program to strengthen the north in which 2.8 billion NIS were invested, is upgrading sites such as these, and this is one of the ways in which we express our love for the city of Akko.


Akko is an extraordinary city, a city in which Arabs and Jews live, and together we have to protect this fabric which is important to Israel. Our role is to find the points of balance and to demonstrate sensitivity”.


Tel Akko
The Tel Akko inauguration ceremony was conducted with the participation of the mayor of Akko – Mr. Shimon Lankry, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office – Mr. Ra’anan Dinor, the director-general of the Israel Antiquities Authority – Mr. Shuka Dorfman and the director of the Prime Minister’s Office in the north – Mr. David Ben Yemini.

In the past year, as part of the desire to encourage and strengthen tourism in the city of Akko, the Prime Minister’s Office, led by the office’s director in the north, David Ben Yemini, has acted in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Akko Municipality to promote “Tel Akko”, the tourism project which presents the rich cultural diversity of this northern port city.


Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Mr. Shuka Dorfman
The tell is a historic site that extends across c. 200 dunams and constitutes an important landmark at the entrance to the city. The renewed site combines the historic spots that existed in the region with modern attractions for the entire family, and includes a system of footpaths and bicycle trails, vantage points, archaeological finds and stations providing information on archaeology, history and ecology. Among other things, it will be possible to learn there about the manufacture of glass and the production of purple dye as they were done in the past in the same region, remains of which were found on the tell.

In addition, in September 2009 an “open theater” will be established on top of the southern slope of the tell, which will be used for large public events such as theatrical and musical performances.

 
Later in his visit to Akko the prime minister received a comprehensive description of the development plans for Ben Ami Street, the main road in Akko. The street is slated to undergo significant changes and it will be connected to the promenade along the beach. A variety of defined areas will be created along it; unique furniture will be placed there, lighting will be installed and an open air antiquities museum will also be established.

The cost of these two main projects is estimated at about 23 million NIS of which 20 million NIS were allocated from the government’s budget that is designated for strengthening the north.


The tourism projects in Akko join a list of important projects which the Prime Minister’s Office is promoting within the framework of the government’s program for strengthening the north, among them: upgrading and enlarging the soccer stadium in Kiryat Shmona, establishing the “Barko Park” (an archaeological park) in Tiberias, building the southern promenade in Nahariya, etc.


Prime minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, during the inauguration
The prime minister added, “The projects that are being implemented here – the tell, the promenade and the establishment of the career soldiers’ neighborhood – are part of the change to the image of the city which is going forward and not retreating. This is how all of the north of the State of Israel will look”.

The director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Mr. Shuka Dorfman said, “This important enterprise is putting into practice the vision of the Antiquities Authority of exposing the archaeological remains to the public at large. The Israel Antiquities Authority is acting to make the antiquities sites as accessible and comprehensible as possible for the visiting public by means of preparing the sites, vantage points, archaeological exhibits and information stations that cover a variety of topics. In this way Tel Akko, which has not been fostered to date and was damaged over the course of time by development activity and natural hazards, will become a recreation venue for the residents of Akko and the region, and for tourists, and will connect them to the rich cultural heritage of Akko”.

 
 
For additional details, kindly contact:
* Li‘ad Bar-El, Galai Communications and Public Relations – the Government Program for Strengthening the North, 052-8822879, liad@galaipr.com

* Meyrav Shay, Acting Spokesperson of the Israel Antiquities Authority: 052-4284408, meyrav@israntique.org.il

* Sharon Dahan, Spokesman of the Municipality of Akko, 052-6189850, pr2-acco@iula.org.il


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