Tel Aviv & Jaffa Attractions
Introduction: Tel Aviv -Jaffa is the same city today, under the same municipality system (same mayor). Today, Tel Aviv Jaffa is the second largest city in Israel 400,000 inhabitants (after Jerusalem which has 830,000 inhabitants).
Jaffa was established around 7000 years ago. It's one of the oldest cities in Israel (some will say the oldest one). The city and its port, were destroyed and rebuilt several times during the millenniums, by Conquerors from Africa (Egypt), Asia, and Europe. Today's Old City, is actually a city that was built in the 18th Century by the Ottoman's governor Dhar-El-Omar (Before that, it was a small fisherman village).
Dhar-El-Omar rebuilt the port, surround the city with a Wall, built Mosques and Madrasa (Islamic school), and developed the trading. He also "Imported" Jews from Turkey (encourage them to come by giving them lands, near the Sea of Galilee), in order to strengthen the trade in the area.In the end of the 19th century, the city become over crowded. Therefore, People started to build neighborhoods outside the walls. One of the neighborhoods, was Neve Tzedek (I will tell the story of this neighborhood later).
Few years after this neighborhood was established, 66 families (which mainly still lived in Jaffa), decided to established the first Jewish city in the Modern age.In 1909 Tel Aviv was established.In May 1st 1921, the Jews which were still lived in Jaffa, were attacked by the Arabs, some of them were murdered, some of the women were raped, the Jews ran away to Tel Aviv, and after that, Jaffa was populated only with Arabs, which become hostile to Tel -Aviv.In 1948 (our Independence War), Tel Aviv was attacked by Arab forces from Jaffa. The Jews responded and conquered Jaffa. Since then, Jaffa and Tel Aviv are the same city.
1. Jaffa Port- As far as we have evidence to that, Jaffa Port was first active 3000 years ago. Jaffa port appears in the bible in several places, for example:
1.1. In 2 Chronicles 2:15-16: "Now let my lord send his servants the wheat and barley and the olive oil and wine he promised, and we will cut all the logs from Lebanon that you need and will float them as rafts by sea down to Joppa. You can then take them up to Jerusalem."
1.2. In Jonah 1:1-3: "The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord."
These two example shows you how important was Jaffa port in the biblical period. Today's port was built by the Ottomans and enlarged in the British Period (1917-1936). In 1936, the Arabs in Jaffa revolt against the British, and the British allowed to the Jews in Tel Aviv to open their own port. Since then till today, Jaffa port switched back to a fishermen port. In the port you can find several galleries, restaurants and the Breeze from the sea...
2. The Old city' Galleries area- In the southeast area of the old city there is an area of Galleries, nice square with fountain, Jaffa's visitor center, and few restaurants and Coffee shops. In Jaffa's visitor center you can hear the History of the City through all the periods, including 3D perform. Nearby there is a beautiful fountain, Restaurants and Galleries. Going to east or west from the square, you'll see along the alleys, Galleries and jewelry shops of artist- Most of the products are handmade. Nice area.
3. GAN HAPISGA- GAN HAPISGA is a beachside park located on the hilltop of Jaffa’s Old City. If you’re looking for that picture-perfect spot, this is the place to go. The green oasis, situated in the heart of the bustling city, offers spectacular views of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean coastline. In the summer, many cultural events take place here.
On the summit there is a Modern statue, which describe two biblical events:
3.1. Binding of Isaac on the Temple Mount.
3.2. Jacob's Ladder - Bible Story as described in Genesis 28:10-22.
Nearby you can see the Egyptian gate from 1200 BC, which is remain from Ramses The 2nd- the Egyptian king which conquered Jaffa.
You can see also nearby the Wishing Bridge which present an old legend, and the Modern Amphi Theatre.
4. St. Peter Church- St. Petrus (Peter in Latin) Church was built in the end of the 19th century, and it is one of a three churches in Israel, which their altar is faces to the West (in all the other churches in Israel, the altar is facing to the East - like the synagogues). Why?
Well, this church was built on the ruins of the Byzantine St Petrus church, and it present the story which is written in Acts 10:6-16, when Peter stayed at Simon the Tanner house.
The altar is facing to West, in order to symbolized the farewell from Peter, when he sailed to Rome (West to Israel), and to his death.
The church itself is very beautiful from the outside as well from the inside. It Design in Eclectic Architecture, which means a mixed of European Architecture and Ablak style (Muslim architecture). This church is located on a cliff, therefor it can be seen from all over the coast of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Not a big Church, but impressive.
5. The Clock Tower square- The Clock Tower square is the place which lead to all the important places in Jaffa. Most of the local tours are starting there.
What you can see there? first of all, of course the Clock Tower which was built by the Ottomans in 1906, as one of seven Clock Towers which were built in Israel (Palestine in those times), as a present to Hamid the 2nd, The Ottoman's Sultan, for his 25th year of domination, as a Sultan. The other 6 Towers were built in Jerusalem, Gaza, Damascus, Acre, Haifa, and Tiberias.
On the West side of the square you can see the old police station and prison from the Ottoman/British period (today it's the Setai Hotel), The Big mosque of the Old city, and the coast. On the east side you can see the remains of the governor home (Saraya in Arabic), which was blown up, by the Jewish forces in the Independence War (1948), and the first mall in the middle east, which was built by the Greek-Orthodoxy's Church, in the middle of the 19th century.
Around the square there are few restaurants - the known one is Huj Kahil.
6. The Flea Market- The Flea Market is active every day from Sunday to Friday from 08:00 AM till 15:00.
This market was established in the 19th century, for people who didn't have money to buy/rent store inside the old city of Jaffa, or in the Greek-Orthodox mall.
It's a "floor market"- meaning all the market is on the floor. Most of the things which are been selling there, are simple and usual old stuff. But, the best thing there, is that the sellers are not aware of the things they are selling. This the time to buy something very precious for few shekels...
For example: Few years ago, I bought there a very rare book for 10 NIS (around 2.8 $), a book that collector can buy for 150-200 NIS, or even more...
Around the market there are stores which are selling old furniture, old paintings, and old Art objects.
Every Friday morning (till afternoon) there is a festival of artists and street band. Every night (except Friday) there are clubs/Pubs/Coffee shops opened with a lot of people crowded to enjoy the atmosphere.
Tel Aviv- Tel Aviv is known in Israel as "The city without a break". It's a city with hundreds of Restaurants, Pubs, Clubs, Theatres, Museums, and four markets. The main markets are:
A. The Flea market (which I already wrote about it as site#6 in Jaffa).
B. The Carmel Market (Site# 2 in Tel Aviv map).
C. The Hatikva Market (Located in the south east of Tel Aviv), and less important than the other markets.
D. The Sharona/Sarona Market- Sharona Market is the largest and unique indoor food market in Israel (Site# 5 in Tel Aviv map).
The known Pubs, Clubs and restaurants are open from 12:00 PM- 03:00 AM seven days a week, and they are concentrated, Mainly, in five areas in the City:
E. Jaffa- around the Old city
F. Allenby and Rothschild streets.
G. Carmel Market area.
H. Tel Aviv coast.
I. Tel Aviv port.
Tel Aviv is one of the most secured cities in the World!
It's not allowed to walk in the streets with Alcoholic drinks after sunset, and you cannot bring to the coast Alcoholic drinks. In general, you can walk in a dark alley in Tel Aviv at 2 AM- and in 99.99% of the cases, nothing will happen.
Regarding the Restaurants, the multi veracity of restaurants in Tel Aviv is incredible! The Jews in Israel came to here from 110 countries. People ask me what is the typical Jewish food in Israel. Well, the known one is Humus, Falafel, Shawarma- but it's not the typical one, because there is no typical Jewish food!!! To be in Tel Aviv without visit its Restaurants, it's like you never been here.
1. Neve Tzedek- Neve Tzedek is a neighborhood located in southwestern Tel Aviv, Israel. It was the first Jewish neighborhood to be built outside the old city of the ancient port of Jaffa. Originally a Mizrahi Jewish and Yemenite Jewish neighborhood, for years, the neighborhood prospered as Tel Aviv, the first modern Hebrew city, grew up around it. Since the early 1980s, Neve Tzedek has become one of Tel Aviv's latest fashionable and expensive districts, with a village-like atmosphere, Restaurants and it's very nice to walk along the alleys.
Neve Tzedek was established in 1887, 22 years before the 1909 founding of Tel Aviv, by a group of Mizrahi Jewish families seeking to move outside of over-crowded Jaffa. Soon, additional small developments grew up around Neve Tzedek and were incorporated into the contemporary boundaries of the neighborhood.
The residents preferred to construct the new quarter with low-rise buildings along narrow streets. These homes frequently incorporated design elements from the Art Nouveau and later Bauhaus art movements and featured contemporary luxuries such as private bathrooms.
At the beginning of the 1900s, some artists and writers made Neve Tzedek their residence. Most notably, future Nobel prize laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon, as well as Hebrew artist Nachum Gutman, used Neve Tzedek as both a home and a sanctuary for art.
2. Carmel Market- The Carmel market was established in the 1920s by the British who tried to mediated between the Arabs, which lived south to the Market, and the Jews which lived East and North to the Market.
This attempt was Doomed to failure, due to the resistance of the Arabs to the Zionist movement and to the establishment of the new Jewish city.
The market bordered by Allenby Street and Magen David Square and is principally located along Carmel Street (which becomes King George Street after Magen David Square), but has expanded over time to streets such as Nahalat Binyamin Street.
The market is open every day of the week, except Saturday, and sells mostly food but also a variety of items such as home accessories, and flowers. Tuesdays and Fridays are the signature days at the market as several independent artists and vendors sell unique crafts, art, and jewelry along Nahalat Binyamin Street.
In the evening, the alleys which surround the market, turn into a huge entertainment area, full with small boutique restaurants and pubs.
3. Rothschild Boulevard- Rothschild Boulevard is one of the first five streets of Tel Aviv. The other four streets are: Herzl- Founder of the Zionist movement. Echad Ha'am- The spiritual leader of the Zionist movement. Rabbi Yehuda Halevy- The Theological leader, of the Jewish people, all over the world. Lilinblum- The economical leader of the Zionist movement.
In this street you can find a mix architecture of the Bahuhouse style (the international style) and the Eclectic style with Modern Style.
The Eclectic style is an architectural style that was common in Israel in the 1920s from the so-called artistic stream: eclecticism and mainly combining western architecture with ornamental styles. A great deal of inspirational sources had influence on this style: classical architecture (Greece - Rome - Renaissance - Baroque), Far East architecture, Art Deco, Near East, Spanish-Mori style (Alhambra), Art Nouveau and Middle Eastern Architecture Ancient. The style was common in most of the Western world, especially here, in the country, was fairly common use in decorative motifs Biblical such as: ceramic tiles made Bezalel with scenic land of Israel, figures from the Bible and biblical scenes; The palm tree as an accepted ornamental element; and use of David's shields and Hebrew letters.
The Bauhaus style, was founded by architect Walter Gropius in Weimar. It was grounded in the idea of creating a Gesamtkunstwerk ("'total work of art") in which all the arts would eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus style later became one of the most influential currents in modern design, Modernist architecture and art, design, and architectural education. The Bauhaus movement had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography. Staff at the Bauhaus included prominent artists such as Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, and László Moholy-Nagy at various points.
Due to the fact that in World War 2 most of the Bauhaus buildings in Europe were destroyed, the only place that hundreds of Bauhaus buildings left as they were, was in Tel Aviv. That's why, UNESCO gave this area of Tel Aviv recognition of A World Heritage Site.
You should walk in Rothschild Boulevard, enjoy the Pubs and restaurants, a lot of special buildings with historical meaning, and mainly, enjoy the buildings which are mixed between Old and New architectures- beautiful street!
4. Tel Aviv's beach- Tel Aviv's beach is not only a very beautiful beach. It's a place which the people, that live in the Center of Israel, are coming to this area from March to November, for Entertainment, Pubs, Swimming, Fishing, surfing, and playing (especially with the Israeli game named as MATKOT).
Most of the beaches have a lifeguard booth (from 7:00AM to 17:00 or 19:00, dependent on the season), and all the facilities that you need, starting with Kiosks, with chairs and tables, for buying food, cold drinks or beer (you cannot bring Alcoholic's beverages, in a bottle or a can, to the beach- because of safety reasons), and Beach chairs with parasols, Toilets and showers.
The beach's Promenade is nearly seven miles long. It starts from Jaffa's port and ends two miles north to Tel Aviv's port.
At night you can find along the promenade, restaurants and Pubs with music, the Sea is lighted with projectors from the coast, and the sunset it's something fabulous...
It is very recommended to spend at least one day/evening in Tel Aviv Beach.
5. Sarona Market- If you love fashion, if you have doubts about where to pamper yourself? If you ever asked yourself if you are a beer person or maybe wine?
If gourmet restaurants make you happy? or maybe just relaxing with a good cup of coffee and pastry?
If the answer is YES to these questions, then Sarona Market is exactly the right place for you.
Sarona Market was established in 2014, and is located in the ground floor of a Modern building, which was built in the heart of an old neighborhood Sarona that was founded by the Templers in 1870 AD. The Templers were Protestant Germans which believed that the Messiah is about to come in the 19th Century. They immigrated to Israel (Palestine in those time), in order to welcome the Messiah when he will arrive.
After the Nazis had been elected in Germany (January 1933), some of the Templers supported the Nazis Ideology. When WW2 started they were exiled, by the British, from Palestine to Europe and Australia.
In the year 2011, this Neighborhood was renovated, and few years after that Sarona Market was opened. Very nice place to visit- mainly in the Afternoon/evening.
6. Tel Aviv Museum- The Tel Aviv Museum of Art was established in 1932 in a building that was the home of Tel Aviv's first mayor, Meir Dizengoff. The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art opened in 1959. Planning for a new building began in 1963 when the museum's collections of modern and contemporary art began to outgrow the premises. Construction commenced in 1966 but stopped for two years due to shortage of funds. The new museum moved to its current location on King Saul Avenue in 1971.
Another wing was added in 1999 and the Lola Beer Ebner Sculpture Garden was established. The museum also contains "The Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Art Education Center", opened since 1988.
The museum houses a comprehensive collection of classical and contemporary art, especially Israeli art, a sculpture garden and a youth wing.
In 2019, the museum's ranking rose to 49th, on the list of most visited art museums in the world, with 1,322,439 visitors.
Link to the Museum website is: https://tamuseum.org.il/en/
7. Tel Aviv Port- The establishment of Tel Aviv 's port was declared in 1932 by the first mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff. The Jewish inhabitants of Tel Aviv, built the Warehouses, establish the roads to and from the new port, and even built offices and Tax control positions. The only problem was, that the British didn't let the Jews to build the pier, in order not to annoyed the Arabs which control Jaffa's port in those times.
At the beginning of the great Arab uprising on April 19, 1936, a strike was declared in the port of Jaffa, and in order to prevent the fall of the orchard industry from exporting its produce through the port of Jaffa, on which the economy of the settlement was based, it was decided to open the first Hebrew port to serve as an alternative port in Tel Aviv.
In May 1936 a small pier was erected and on 23 February 1938 the port was officially opened. The unloading and loading work was stopped on November 3, 1965, in both the Tel Aviv port and the Jaffa port, following the opening of the Ashdod port. The last ship docked at Tel Aviv port on October 25, 1965, And the port was abandoned.
In 2001, the port, which has become a detached backyard of the city since the 1960s, was after the redesign that took into account the environment, the original buildings and the unique encounter between the city, the people and the environment, turn into a shopping center, and entertainment area.
You can have breakfast in restaurants on the pier, which are open at 8AM and even earlier.
Since the entire facility has been outfitted with Wi-Fi, free of charge to anyone bringing a laptop, the area, and its restaurants in particular, all of which sport outdoor seating, have become very attractive for late morning business meetings that often last into lunch.
In the afternoon diners start to appear, enjoying a host of lunchtime cuisines, including seafood, French fare and the culinary expertise of a growing roster of resto-pubs. Lunchtime flows into dinner, with diners - both tourists and locals - interspersed with shoppers, meanderers and the like, and by lovers that come to hold hands as they watch the sun sink into the sea. On weekends, especially, the area is filled with life and excitement well into the wee hours of the night.
On Friday morning there is a Farmers Market where you can find Organic vegetables and fruits.
8. The Yitzhak Rabin Center- The Yitzhak Rabin Center is the national institute established by the Knesset in 1997 that advances the legacy of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a path-breaking, visionary leader whose life was cut short in a devastating assassination. The Center presents Yitzhak Rabin’s remarkable life and tragic death, pivotal elements of the history of Israel, whose impact must not be ignored or forgotten lest risk the recurrence of such shattering events.
The centerpiece of the Yitzhak Rabin Center experience is The Israeli Museum. Comprised of nearly 200 short documentary films, visitors explore the history and makings of the State via exhibit halls, each focused on historical turning points in the country’s development. The exhibits present the conflicts, social challenges and dilemmas the country faced, as well as its successes. Along the inner corridor and interwoven with the exhibits’ narratives is the life story of Yitzhak Rabin, the connecting thread in the country’s history and development. Very interesting to the people who love the genre. Link to The Yitzhak Rabin Center is: http://www.rabincenter.org.il/Web/En/Default.aspx
9. The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot- The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot is more than a Museum. This unique global institution tells the ongoing and extraordinary story of the Jewish people.
The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot connects Jewish people to their roots and strengthens their personal and collective Jewish identity. The Museum of the Jewish People conveys to the world the fascinating narrative of the Jewish people and the essence of the Jewish culture, faith, purpose and deed while presenting the contribution of world Jewry to humanity.
The Museum opened in 1978 thanks to the vision of Nahum Goldman, president of the World Jewish Congress 1954-1977. In 2005, the Israeli Knesset passed the Beit Hatfutsot Law that defines Beit Hatfutsot as “the National Center for Jewish communities in Israel and around the world”.
In the museum, there are permanent exhibitions which present the history of the Jewish people in many aspects:
Jewish Humor- scenes from the Marx Brothers films, Gerry Seinfeld, Lenny Bruce, Mel Brooks, woody Allen, Jerry Lewis, Gene Wilder and more...
Jewish architecture history- exhibition of several dozens of Synagogue, start in the Middle ages up to today.
Jewish Artists and singers- Special films on Barbra Streisand, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and more...
In addition to that, there are temporary exhibitions, which you can get information about them in the museum's Link: https://www.bh.org.il/