Tel Aviv - Jaffa
Tel Aviv, often called “the city that never stops,” was the first modern Jewish city built in Israel, and is the country’s economic and cultural center. It is a lively, active city with entertainment, culture and art, festivals, and an active night life.
Situated on a 14-kilometer-long strip on the Mediterranean seacoast, Tel Aviv extends beyond the Yarkon River to the north and the Ayalon River to the east. Hundreds of thousands of workers, visitors, tourists, and partygoers move about the city each day until the early hours of the morning, seeking out the city’s nightclubs, restaurants, and centers of entertainment.
Tel Aviv began its history in Jaffa (Yafo) - the ancient 3,000-year-old adjoining city that lies to its southwest. The current Old City of Jaffa was built during the Ottoman Empire and its stone houses and narrow alleyways now house the picturesque artists’ quarter and tourist center.
Among the main attractions of Old Jaffa are Gan HaPisga - the Summit Garden with its restaurants, galleries, shops with Judaica, and unique atmosphere, the seaside promenade and walls of the old city, the visitors’ center in the old courtyard, and the fishing port.
There are also several important Christian sites in Old Jaffa such as the Church of Saint Peter, which dates back to the 17th century, the house of Simon the Tanner where Peter had his vision of the non-kosher animals, and the tomb of Tabitha, whose righteous deeds enabled Peter to raise her from the dead. Around Jaffa there is the Ottoman clock tower, a vibrant flea market that is always worth visiting, and the Ajami neighborhood.
The White City
Tel Aviv hosts a wide range of architectural styles which were influenced by various schools of architecture - among which was the International Bauhaus style. The central portion of Tel Aviv - which is known as “The White City - contains the largest group of buildings in the world built in the International Bauhaus style. For this reason the White City has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. This style originated in Germany and was based upon clean geometric shapes and asymmetry, and flourished from the 1930s until the establishment of the State. It soon attracted other city architects as well.
The White City extends from Allenby Street to the south to the Yarkon River to the north, and from Begin Boulvard to the east to the sea. There are large concentrations of buildings of this style on Rothschild Boulevard and in the area of Dizengoff Center. Park HaYarkon is in the northern part of the White City on the banks of the Yarkon River. The Tel Aviv port lies at the northwest corner and has a large concentration of entertainment centers, nightclubs, and restaurants.
Culture and Entertainment
Tel Aviv is Israel’s center for culture and entertainment. The city has more than 20 museums, the most important of which are the Land of Israel (HaAretz) Museum and the Tel Aviv Art Museum. Other Tel Aviv museums include the Museum of the Diaspora, the Israel Defense Forces History Museum, the Etzel Museum, the Haganah Museum, the Palmach Museum, The Lekhi Museum, and the Nachum Guttman Museum.
The city hosts the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israeli Opera Company, as well as most of the national dance and theater companies.
Tel Aviv’s important historical sites include Bialik House, Ben Gurion House, Dizengoff House, the old cemetery on Trumpeldor Street, and Reuven House. Nature lovers can visit the garden at Abu Kabir, HaYarkon Park, and the Botanical Gardens near Tel Aviv University. Families with children can enjoy an action-filled amusement park.
The city has several plazas, the best known being Rabin Square, HaMedina Square, and Dizengoff Circle.
Eleven of the city’s churches, monasteries, and mosques, such as St. Peter’s Church and the Franciscan Monastery, are located in Jaffa.
Vacationers in Tel Aviv can lodge at any of the dozens of hotels, boarding houses, and youth hostels scattered throughout the city. These offer every type of accommodation ranging from luxurious rooms to simple, pleasant lodging.