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by Derek Flick

One of the things that surprised me when I arrived for the dig at Akko was the accommodation and its decor.  We are housed at the Israel Nautical Academy, which prepares students to enter the Israeli Navy or Merchant Marine.  When I heard this during orientation, I envisioned an aesthetic of cold military orderliness and utilitarianism.

I thought it would be akin to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, with its stark campus of stately grey stone.  Instead, I found a more relaxed atmosphere.  Much of the architecture here is coated in colorful, often flaking, paint.  Many walls are graced with murals of ships, cartoonish sharks, and mermaids.  Student-made mosaics and paintings decorate the dorms.  The decor seems an odd mixture at times, mixing childlike playfulness with plaques celebrating the Israeli Navy’s cruise missile capabilities and posters outlining tips for survival at sea.  I can tell that the academy is serious about instruction in seamanship, but that it also allows a lighthearted atmosphere for its cadets.

I think one of the best examples of this is the colonnade leading to the dining hall.  Each pillar is painted with the signal flag for a letter of the alphabet along with the NATO phonetic alphabet pronunciation in English and in Hebrew.  These are very colorful and are decorated with a scene of the sea and floral designs.  To me, these tie together the bright, casual atmosphere of the Nautical Academy with its mission of preparing young men and women for service at sea.


Derek Flick
About Derek Flick

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Academy Decor