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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sinkhole


Several months ago, someone who is starting a new on-line Israel magazine (Israel Today) asked, through various yahoogroups, who might be willing to write some articles for a few shekels every month. (4 articles, to be exact, for 200 shekels per month).


Since 200 shekels is also helpful, and it sounded like fun, I said that I would, and thus, have been cranking out articles about Tzfat monthly since December.


Anyway, it occured to me that it would be fun to reprint them here. I mean, I wrote them, for goodness sakes. They're supposed to be for public relations purposes for Israel, so they're supposed to be upbeat and optimistic.


Anyway, here's one that I wrote this month about our new Tourist Attraction on the midrachov (main drag) -- our very own sinkhole.


Sinkhole



Worldwide, a new phenomena has been gaining more recognition – sinkholes. These holes are openings in the streets or sidewalks of cities – the reason that the area suddenly opened seems unexplained, but the result is that without warning, a small crack in a public thoroughfare quickly opens to reveal a gapping hole in the ground.

These holes can occur at any time and in any place….a recent sinkhole in Brazil swallowed up several people who disappeared into the sewers underneath the street.

Several weeks ago, in Tzfat, a sinkhole opened, but together with the plumbing and other infrastructure that one would normally find in a city, a uniquely Tzfat sight greeted the onlookers and city workers who rushed to check out the hole.

Clearly visible beneath the main street of Tzfat were arches of homes and rooms that had been covered over. It is well-known that, through the centuries, successive earthquakes have buried Tzfat, and after each quake, the survivors have built the new city on top of the remains of the old buried buildings. Throughout the Old City of Tzfat, arches can be discerned, poking out of the ground all along the streets. These are the homes and buildings that Tzfat residents lived in through the years, and while they were buried under rubble during the earthquakes, they did not collapse.

Yet it has shaken up the population to find such buildings underneath the main street of the city – after all, trucks, busses, tractors, and other heavy vehicles drive over these ruins daily…not to mention the shops and 3 and 4 story buildings which are built there. Almost everyone hurrying down the street to take care of errands and business stops by the barricade which was put up to protect people from the hole. They gaze down at Tzfat's history and marvel at the strength of these stone buildings which were built by hand, and held together not by cement, which was not known when the structures were built, but by mud.


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