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Jaffa Date: First and Second Grade visit to ancient port city

Thursday 26 March 2009, by Frances Simmons

On the edge of Jaffa lies the sabil, or water fountain; where travellers could quench their thirst upon arrival into the city. They are commonplace in many towns across the whole of the Middle East. Aptly, we stopped here first; intrepid adventurers fearlessly setting foot into a new territory. In arid areas water is a valuable and life-giving commodity, and the donation of water is an important social tradition.

Although no longer in use, it was not difficult to imagine the tranquility of a functioning sabil on a hot day in this bustling city. The structure is built of simple Jaffa sand stone, but the children saw that the generous purpose of this building gave it beauty.

With our guides we moved on to the gardens and Old City, to learn more about the significance of this timeless town, a site that has been inhabited for over 5000 years. The children took in the various civilisations that have supplanted one another over the centuries. A visit to the city’s central mosque, where the children were able to discuss different religions with our guide, provided a calm moment away from the noise of traffic and daily life.

The day was completed with a boat ride. From the sea a fabulous view of the charming port and the buildings of the Old City topped off a highly educational and fun day of exploration.

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