Abdu Matta is very well known in Acre. As he walks pushing his bicycle along, everyone greets him, from market stand owners to the courier rushing through bearing his cups of dark tea. He is probably the most recognized person in old Acre; a walking treasure of knowledge in history, politics, archeology, as well as an actor and a player of the Oud. All these, concocted from the old age history of the city with its many fortresses, walls and alleys, become a colorful paste that spiced-up by an artist hand, forms a play that fascinate adults, youth and children alike!
עWe sit at the entrance to the Knights Halls drinking hot tea. Abdu is a proud person, and not at all silent, as befitting a person who chose the profession of ‘Hakawat’, a story-teller, and is also a certified national tour guide as well as an occasional actor and a singer. Staying near Abdu Matta promises an unending stream of experiences. We enter the gates of one of Acre’s museums and of course Abdu seems to know everyone; from the conductor at the entrance to the manager of the museum; and they all seem to know him as well. On the way we stop next to an ancient stone pillar, take a breath of air in the shade of some wide-canopy trees growing between the stone walls; anywhere we turn, any stone we stop by, any arch we go under and any pit we stand above Abdu has a story to tell; and his stories are all fascinating!
Abdu, an orthodox Greek, whose family goes back ten generations in Acre, offers a variety of routes for group and family tours, adapted to accommodate the heat of summer as well as rainy days. Tours with Abdu can begin anywhere in the Old or New city of Acre, as well as in other sites in the Western Galilee. In the summer Abdu will take you for an underground tour that will both protect you from the beating sun and introduce you to ancient periods in the life of this city that was once dominated by Canaanites, Moslems, Crusaders, and Turks. Acre is also interesting and surprising in the winter time and visitors can enjoy the structures and halls that protect them from the rain.
Old Acre is developing home accommodation tourism, thus enhancing the authentic experience of the city tour. Abdu’s tours incorporate domestic meals offering authentic Acre cuisine delicacies and direct meeting with the local population. Amongst others, Abdu organizes local cooking workshops at Grandma Badia or Grandma Fatma, Acre residents who open their kitchens and share their extensive knowledge with their guests.
Abdu’s flair for describing and personifying the characters in his stories promises enjoyment for the whole family. He will describe the way Knights used to defecate wearing all their armor, and right away walks you to a boutique ice-cream parlor, point to the Tower of Flies in the bay and tell a tall-tale, creating splendidly played textual delicacies from the stories of Jews, Christians, Moslems and all others who lived among these walls at one point or another.