Read about the city

Tel Aviv is a big city with a picture perfect location at the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a city with skyscrapers, pedestrian streets, shopping centers, museums and at the same time large parks and a long sandy beach in the heart of the urban area. It is a great cocktail for sights, activities and recreation.

Locals use Tel Aviv's seafront promenade to bike, run, swim or just relax to the sound of the Mediterranean waves. The weather is mild all year round and the promenade always buzzes with life. High-rise buildings are located along the coast, and to the south you can see the old city of Jaffa rising on the horizon with St. Peter's Church as a characteristic silhouette.

Tel Aviv-Jaffa are two cities that have grown together today. Tel Aviv is the modern metropolis of the 20th century, while the history of Jaffa dates back several thousand years. Thereby, there are great architectural contrasts between the cities. Tel Aviv is widely renowned for its almost endless number of fine examples of Bauhaus buildings, and the so-called white city is, as a whole, architecturally inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list.

In Jaffa, the building style is old with beautifully restored houses, squares, churches and museums. The city is located on a ridge from which there is a magnificent view to Tel Aviv's skyline. In contrast to Tel Aviv, the streets are narrow, and towards the harbor you find nice places for a snack or a great dinner.

Other attractions

Rabin Square, Tel Aviv

  • Rabin Square: This is one of the biggest squares in Tel Aviv. At the southern end you can see the city's World War II Holocaust memorial. The monument is designed in a way so that it forms a star of David from above.
  • Meir Park: Meir Park is one of Tel Aviv's smaller parks, and it is a well-frequented area in the middle of the Israeli metropolis. The park opened in 1944.

Dizengoff Square, Tel Aviv

  • Dizengoff Square: This is the central square in Tel Aviv, which it has been since the site was laid out in the 1930s. Dizengoff Square is a traffic hub, where a stroll area has been built across the road for pedestrians.
  • Polishuk House: This house was designed in 1934 by architects Shlomo Liaskovsky and Yaakov Orenstein. It stands as one of the best examples of an office building among Tel Aviv's many Bauhaus-style buildings.

Independence Hall, Tel Aviv

  • Independence Hall: The House of Independence Hall is the building where Israel's Declaration of Independence was signed. In this way, the state of Israel was proclaimed just here, and it happened on May 14, 1948 at 4 o'clock. Today there is a museum commemorating this event.
  • Boat House: This house was designed by Shimon Hamadi Levi and built 1934-1935. Boat House is one of Tel Aviv's best-known buildings in the Bauhaus architecture that is ubiquitous in the Israeli metropolis.

St Peter's Church, Tel Aviv

  • St Peter's Church: This church building is a Franciscan church that was inaugurated in 1654. The interior is beautiful under the high vaulted ceiling, and you can see both stained-glass windows and artwork with scenes from St. Peter's life and deeds.
  • Pagoda House: Pagoda House is a distinctive eclectic style building in central Tel Aviv. The house was completed in 1924, and the Polish ambassador was among the occupants of the apartments. The prominent residents allowed the house to install Tel Aviv's first elevator in a private residence.

Ramses II Garden, Tel Aviv

  • Ramses II Garden: This is a park at the top of Jaffa's Old Town. It is a lovely green area, from which there is a wonderful view of Tel Aviv's seafront and many high-rise buildings. The park is definitely worth a relaxing walk.
  • Jaffa Port: Jaffa Port is the historically central port of the region around present-day Tel Aviv. Today, Jaffa Harbor is an interesting area at the foot of the town of Jaffa, with narrow passages from the harbor.
History overview

    [expand title="Read about city history" id="historie2" swaptitle="Hide content"]
    Early time
    The urban area around Tel Aviv began with the establishment of the port city of Jaffa, mentioned for the first time in preserved documents in the year 1470 BC. However, archaeological excavations have resulted in finds that are older, but the early history is uncertain.

    In 1470 BC was the Egyptian Pharaoh, Tutmoses III, on a conquest voyage, and on that occasion it is mentioned that he successfully won the dominion over Jaffa. The port city is also mentioned several times in the Bible; Among other things, it was from here that Jonas sailed before being swallowed by a fish for being there three days before throwing him up on a beach. It was also through the port of Jaffa that wood for the erection of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem came to the area.

    The era of the Crusades
    With the centuries, Christianity emerged, and from the Holy Land, religion proceeded to victory in Europe, where Catholicism prevailed. From time to time, crusades were launched to secure Christianity in the biblical land, and in 1099 Godfred captured Bouillon Jaffa from Muslims who left the city. With Godfred's success, the time of the Crusades in present-day Israel had begun.

    Godfather of Bouillon strengthened Jaffa's defense; it applied to both the city and its strategically important port, which quickly evolved to become the gateway from the sea to the kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1192, Muslim Saladin conquered Jaffa, but Richard the Lionheart quickly won the city back on Christian hands.

    The 13th century became the end of Christian rule over the area. German-Roman Emperor Frederick II had expanded Jaffa's defense in 1223, but this was not enough to withstand the Muslim armies of the Mamluk sultan Baibar, who could conquer the city in 1268. On that occasion, the invading army destroyed the city's fortifications and parts of the port facility.

    A new crusade was planned in the mid-1300s, but it did not achieve the desired success. Over the following centuries, the greatest administrative change occurred in the 16th century, when the Ottoman Empire conquered Jaffa during the growth period of this Muslim kingdom. Jaffa was then ruled as one of several villages in the Gaza region.

    During the Turkish Ottomans, Jaffa grew to some extent throughout the 18th century. This happened after the Ottoman government in Istanbul sent an increased number of troops to the city to secure the important port against not least pirates and Bedouins. With the increased military presence, the population of the city grew to just over 2,000 by the year 1800.

    The 19th century brought relatively large growth in Jaffa, but before then Napoleon's troops had besieged the city in 1799. Some of the inhabitants lost their lives in fighting or in the plague epidemic that hit Jaffa after the siege.

    However, the growth came, and from the beginning of the 19th century, Jaffa's old city walls were demolished to allow for expansion of the city, which in the 1880s had 17,000 inhabitants. It was mainly trade with Europe that brought prosperity and growth, and the most traded goods were silk and oranges.

    The latter half of the 19th century was also where Jaffa's Sephardic Jewish community was supplemented by traveling and similar Jews from North Africa and by Ashkenazi Jews. Yemeni Jews started the first settlement in what later became Tel Aviv, outside Jaffa in 1881. Several traveling Jews were attracted to Zionism, and they went to Jaffa in increasing numbers after the first aliyah that started in 1881 and lasted until 1903. In the 1880-1890s, they founded several settlements that eventually evolved into neighborhoods in Tel Aviv.

    Tel Aviv is founded
    In 1906, a group of Jews decided to establish a new Hebrew city, to be established with modern standards in, for example, health and the environment. The thoughts behind the city were driven by contemporary green thoughts during the so-called Garden City Movement, and as a first, a number of plots were offered. Between the city's dwellings there should be wide streets, street lamps and water supply for each house.

    The region was under the rule of the Muslim Turks and the authorities banned Jews from buying land. The ban caused the first 60 plots of land to be acquired by Dutch Jacobus Kann, who registered as a buyer of all land in order to evade the Turkish rules. One of the driving forces behind the new city was Meir Dizengoff, who later became Tel Aviv's first mayor. His vision with the city was that Jews and Arabs should live in peaceful coexistence, and after the acquisition of Jacobus Kann, the city could be realized.

    On April 11, 1909, 66 families stood together at the uninhabited present-day Tel Aviv. They stood together to draw lots for the first 60 plots, and these events mark the official founding of Tel Aviv. The draw was done by collecting 60 white and 60 gray seashells. The names of the families were written on the white shells, while the numbers of the land were written on the gray. A girl pulled shells from one pile and a boy from the other. In doing so, Tel Aviv's first residents found their new home, and with 66 families for 60 plots, six of the plots had been shared.

    During the first year, the city's first many streets were laid out, and water supply was established for homes and other buildings that jammed with the new city. Founded as an educational site in 1906, Herzliya Hebrew High School was an example of the urban development that took place in the early days. The school was built on Herzl Street, which along with the streets Ahad Ha'am, Yehuda Halevi, Lilienblum and Rothschild were in the first Tel Aviv.

    World War I and the British
    Already at the start of World War I in 1914, Tel Aviv had grown to an area larger than a square kilometer. However, development stopped abruptly in 1917, the administration of the Ottoman Empire expelled the inhabitants of Tel Aviv and Jaffa. The following year, however, the Jews could return, the Ottomans having lost the war.

    The British took control of the area from the Turks and it started a time of increased migration to the region. There was also increased tension between Arabs and Jews, and on May 1, 1921, they came to actual fighting with many dead and injured. The fighting caused many Jews to move from Jaffa to Tel Aviv in the following years, and the city grew from 2,000 inhabitants in 1920 to about 34,000 in 1925.

    Tel Aviv was established as the area's leading city during this time in the 1920s. Economically, it was rapidly developing, and it was the first city in British Palestine to receive electricity. The light was lit in Tel Aviv's main streets on June 10, 1923.

    Town plan, development and new war
    In 1925, Scottish Patrick Geddes developed a large-scale urban plan for the expansion of Tel Aviv with streets, squares, housing and centrally located institutions such as administration and cultural centers. Part of this plan was implemented as intended, but with the increasing number of refugees from Europe in the 1930s, another part was developed with higher housing carriers than intended.

    In 1934, Tel Aviv gained the status of an actual city, and in the following years immigration greatly increased. It was Adolf Hitler's Germany that the Jews left, and in 1937 the population numbered 150,000, which was more than twice as many as in Jaffa.

    The many new inhabitants brought new growth with them in economy, culture and logistics. In 1938, a new port was opened in Tel Aviv, enabling direct sailing instead of the Arab Jaffa. The city's two airports, one of which is now known as Ben Gurion Airport, also opened during this time.

    With the many emigrants and refugees from Germany came also some architects who were educated on and with Bauhaus and modernism. They continued to work with these styles in Tel Aviv, which in this context became one of the cities in the world where modernism had the greatest impact on the street scene. It was in 1930 that the so-called White City of Tel Aviv emerged and it was included on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2003.

    World War II was a terrible year for the Jews of Europe who found a sanctuary in Tel Aviv. However, the city could not completely avoid the war, and on September 9, 1940, Tel Aviv was hit by bombings of the city.

    Tel Aviv, Israel
    With the end of World War II, the European map had been changed and a solution had to be found to create a shared future for British Palestine.

    Under the auspices of the UN, a divisional plan was drawn up and with this plan Tel Aviv with 230,000 inhabitants became part of a Jewish state, while Jaffa with 100,000 citizens became part of the proposed Arab state; about 30% of the people of Jaffa were Jewish.

    A civil war broke out and it came to battles between Tel Aviv and Jaffa. The Jews won over and after a month-long siege, Jaffa fell on May 13, 1948. Subsequently, large parts of the port city's Arab population left Jaffa.

    On May 14, 1948, Israel declared itself an independent state and Tel Aviv became the administrative center until Jerusalem became its capital in December 1949. However, diplomatic relations continued to characterize Tel Aviv, with most of the country's embassies and still lying here.

    With the Arab defeat in Jaffa, it was unclear how Tel Aviv and Jaffa should be administratively linked. From 1948 to 1950, Jaffa was gradually incorporated into Tel Aviv, and in 1950 the city's name was changed to Tel Aviv-Yafo to emphasize the history and location of both places.

    High-rise buildings and stagnation
    Tel Aviv's development continued through the 1950s in the young Jewish state. In the 1960s, the development in, among other things, the population was so significant that some of Tel Aviv's lower buildings were demolished to make way for the country's first high-rise buildings.

    In the early 1960s, nearly 400,000 lived in Tel Aviv, which was a highlight compared to the following decades. During the 1960s and 1980s, the population gradually dropped to around 315,000. One of the contributing factors was the rising housing prices, which made it difficult for young people to buy housing in the popular Tel Aviv.

    In the early 1990s, everything still didn't look fancy. Iraq fired Scud missiles against Israel and Tel Aviv, and although the effective Israeli defense resisted the attacks, the missiles obviously made headlines. However, a total of 74 Israelis died in connection with the Iraqi attacks.

    New boomtime
    After a few decades of stagnation and decline in population, the 1990s brought new growth. Urban renewals were carried out in several places, and a special effort was made to preserve the city's many modernist constructions.

    In the same period came another great wave of immigration; this time it was from the countries of the former Soviet Union where, after the dissolution of the Union in 1991, it was possible to emigrate if desired. New high-rise buildings and new high-tech companies were some of the most prominent achievements of the 1990s, helping to establish Tel Aviv as an important economic and financial center.

    Tel Aviv was attacked with Scud missiles in 1991, and through the 1990s the first INTIFADA raged, requiring many victims of Arab suicide attacks. Recent years have brought relative calm, and in 2009 Tel Aviv could celebrate its first hundred years since its founding.
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Tel-Aviv, Israel

Top attractions

Tel Aviv Promenade

  • Tel Aviv Promenade: A lovely promenade along the Mediterranean Sea throughout central Tel Aviv. Along the promenade there are many beaches where swimming is a pleasure. Bike paths, running tracks, bars, restaurants, hotels, parks and many others things make the promenade a popular place for locals and tourists alike.
  • Bauhaus Center: The Bauhaus Center is an organization whose work is focused on Tel Aviv's significant architectural heritage of buildings based on the Bauhaus School in Weimar. In 2003, Tel Aviv's Bauhaus architecture was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

  • Tel Aviv Museum of Art: This is Tel Aviv's premier art museum and its focus is international art from the 20th century to the present day. You can experience the different genres that have characterized these years, and there are both permanent and changing exhibitions of various works and collections.
  • Museum of The Jewish People: This is a museum established to describe the history of the Jewish people. In the museum you can learn about Jewish history and get information about the time portrayed from the deportation of Jews from Israel in the 500s BC to the return of the Jews to their country from the 19th century to today's Jewish community.

Jaffa, Tel Aviv

  • Jaffa: Jaffa is the southern part of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa metropolitan area and is an old contrast to the new and modern Tel Aviv. Jaffa's Old Town is the atmospheric historic Jaffa, and the area around Kdumim Square is beautifully restored.
  • The Great Synagogue: This is Tel Aviv's largest synagogue. It was designed by Yehuda Magidovich in 1922 and completed in 1926. The original 1920s building was dominated by the large dome, which continues to adorn the synagogue.
Trips in the area

Jerusalem, Israel

  • Jerusalem/יְרוּשָׁלַיִם: Jerusalem is located in the mountains of Judea and spreads across countless hilltops, providing a clear contrast to nearby Tel Aviv. Another and very clear contrast is Jerusalem's ancient city with narrow alleys and small squares without car traffic. The main sights of the city is The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa and the Wailing Wall.
  • Bethlehem/בית לחם: Bethlehem is a city whose history dates back at least to the 1300s BC. The city is located quite close south of Jerusalem, and it is not least known as the place where Jesus was born. Today, Bethlehem is a smaller city whose main revenue is the tourism industry, with the Church of the Nativity and the Milk Cave Chapel being the main sights.

Masada, Israel

  • Masada/מצדה: Masada is one of Israel's absolute top attractions, and this is immediately understood by a visit here. Masada is a stronghold established on a 400 meter/1,300 ft high cliff top in the Negev desert overlooking the Dead Sea.
  • Dead Sea/יָם הַמֶּלַח: The Dead Sea is a saltwater lake located on the border between Israel and Jordan. The lake is known for its high salinity and for being the lowest point on the earth's surface.

Caesarea, Israel

  • Caesarea/קיסריה: Caesarea is the name of a former Roman port city, from which you can see finely preserved ruins on the Israeli Mediterranean coast. The site was excavated from the 1950s, and the result of those efforts is a well-preserved part of Caesarea's Roman and later buildings.
  • Sea of ​​Galilee/יָם כִּנֶּרֶת: The largest freshwater lake in Israel and a popular destination for locals and tourists. The lake is far below sea level, and it is after the Dead Sea the world's lowest lake. The lake is linked to many episodes in the Bible, and thus you can think of some of the miracles that Jesus performed on and around the lake; eg when Jesus walked on water.

Haifa, Israel

  • Haifa/חיפה: Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel and the country's third largest city. Haifa is beautifully located on the Mediterranean coast and at Mount Carmel, on which many of the city's neighborhoods extend up to with great views. Countless cultures and people have left their mark on the city and thereby contributed to the beautiful Haifa that you can experience today.
  • Akko/עַכּוֹ: Akko is a city located in the northern part of the Gulf of Haifa and it is considered one of the oldest cities in the world. Its importance can be seen today in the many old buildings, first and foremost the entire well-preserved Old Town, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Jericho, Israel

  • Jericho/יריחו: Jericho is a city located between Jerusalem and the Jordan River. It is believed to be one of the oldest cities in the world, and excavations have uncovered finds from a number of settlements over time; the oldest goes back about 11,000 years in time.
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  • Azrieli, Derech Menachem Start 132,
  • Dizengoff Center, Dizengoff Street, King George Street,
  • Ayalon Mall, Ramat Gan
  • City Garden, Ibn Gvirol Street
  • Shopping streets: Dizengoff Street, Allenby Street, King George Street, Ben Yehuda Street
With kids
  • Beach: Tel Aviv Promenade
  • Park and Activities: HaYarkon Park, Rokach Boulevard
  • Amusement Park: Luna Park, Ganai Hataarucha,
  • Bird Park: Zapari, HaYarkon Park, Rokach Boulevard,
  • Zoo: Safari, Ramat Gan,
Practical info