Tel Aviv-Jaffa Tourist Attractions
The first remains of a settlement which has been continuous into our own day were found on the 37m/120ft high hill above Jaffa's natural Harbor.
Excavations in recent years have brought to light a wall dating from the Hyksos period (18th-16th centuries B.C.). In 1486 B.C. Pharaoh Tuthmosis III conquered Jaffa; and the excavators found a stone door with an inscription in the name of Pharaoh Ramesses II (13th century B.C.). Around 1200 B.C. Philistines settled in Jaffa and on Tell Qasileh (north of the river Yarqon). About 1000 B.C. the town was captured by David, and his son Solomon imported cedarwood from Lebanon for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem through the port of Jaffa or the Harbor near Tell Qasileh (2 Chronicles 2,15). In later centuries, however, the population of Jaffa was predominantly Phoenician and from the third century B.C. predominantly Greek. In the second century B.C. there were conflicts between the Greek population and the Maccabees, who in 142 B.C. set fire to Jaffa (2 Maccabees 12,3-8) and settled numbers of Jews in the town. In the first century B.C. the port of Jaffa lost its leading place to the newly founded town of Caesarea.The Christian era in Jaffa began with the visit of the apostle Peter (Acts 9,36-43). In the fourth century it was the see of a bishop. In 636 it was conquered by the Arabs, and in the seventh and eighth centuries enjoyed a period of prosperity under the Omayyad and Abbasid Caliphs. The Crusaders destroyed the town in 1099 and then rebuilt the walls; and thereafter the port was used by pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. The walls were strengthened by King Louis IX of France in 1251. The Crusader occupation came to an end, however, with the capture of the town by the Mameluke Sultan Baibars in 1267. Thereafter for many centuries Jaffa lay desolate.From 1520 Palestine was ruled by the Ottomans, who in 1650 gave permission to Franciscan friars to build a church and pilgrim hospice. In 1799 Napoleon stayed in Jaffa on his way from Egypt to Akko. In 1807 Mahmud, whose severity earned him the name of Abu Nebut ("Father of the Cudgel"), became Pasha of Gaza and made Jaffa his capital. From his time date the Seraglio (now a museum), the nearby Hammam, the Mahmudiye Mosque and the Abu Nebut Fountain. In 1818 Jaffa had a population of 6,000. In 1834 Ibrahim Pasha captured the town and founded the suburb of Abu Kabir a little way inland.A new period of development under European auspices began in the mid 19th century. In 1852 American Adventists established a farm on the "Mount of Hope" near the river Ayalon, but in 1857 this was pillaged and thereafter abandoned. (The site is now occupied by the Shevah College in Hamasger Street.)The "capitulations" agreed with the Turkish government ensured great influence for the European powers in Palestine. The French built hospitals and enlarged monasteries and churches. The Russians built a church dedicated to St Peter at the "Tomb of Tabitha" on the hill of Abu Kabir. In 1866 members of the American Church of the Messiah founded a colony, which failed because of Arab hostility and the unfavorable climate. In 1869 the German Society of the Temple took over the abandoned site and established the agricultural settlement of Jaffa- Valhalla; then in 1871 they founded another settlement at Sarona, northeast of Jaffa. Farther north the Jewish settlements of Newe Tzedek and Newe Shalom were established. In 1892 French engineers built a railway line between Jaffa and Jerusalem.In 1909 immigrants from Russia founded the purely Jewish suburb of Ahuzat Bayit, with the Herzl Grammar School (on a site now occupied by the Shalom Tower). This marked the beginning of the modern town, which was named Tel Aviv in 1910 and, following Arab riots in 1921, broke away from Jaffa and became an independent city. During the British Mandate (1920-48) wide new streets were cut through Jaffa's maze of alleys to make it easier to control disorder. By 1924 the town had a population of 35,000. A power station was built in Tel Aviv, which became the first town in the country to have an electricity supply. In 1929 renewed Arab riots led many Jews to move from Jaffa to Tel Aviv. In 1936 the port of Jaffa was closed down, and Tel Aviv built its own port at Tell Qasileh.The United Nations plan for the partition of Palestine (1947) proposed that Jaffa (population 100,000, including 30,000 Jews) should remain Arab and Tel Aviv (population 230,000) become Jewish. In 1948, following Arab attacks, Israel forces captured Jaffa. On May 14th 1948 David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the state of Israel in the former house of the first mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff. In 1950 the old town of Jaffa was amalgamated with the new Jewish town under the name of Tel Aviv-Yafo.
Tel Aviv - The town
Opinions on Tel Aviv differ widely. To some it is a noisy and unbeautiful city, to others the lively modern metropolis of Israel. It is true that some parts of the city, particularly the outer districts, are not particularly attractive; but the central area between the sea and Ibn Gvirol Street, with its functional buildings in the international style, is handsome and imposing.Most of the hotels - all of them in the luxury category - are on Hayarkon Street, which runs parallel to the coast, and its continuation to the south, Herbert Samuel Street (though farther south the hotels begin to become less exclusive). The principal business and shopping quarter is round Dizengoff Street and Circle. There are also numbers of smaller shops in Allenby Street, Southwest of which is the Newe Tzedek quarter, the oldest part of the town, with narrow little streets and low houses. Farther south is the old town of Jaffa (Yafo). The northern part of Tel Aviv, beyond the river Yarqon, is very different, with handsomely laid out residential districts and large parks and gardens.
Jaffa has maintained some of its old town feel with many historic buildings that have been nicely restored.
Eastern Tel Aviv
Eastern Tel Aviv includes the hilly suburb of Ramat Gan and the Safari Park.
Tel Aviv - Ramat Gan
To the east of the city center of Tel Aviv is the hilly suburb of Ramat Gan ("Garden Hill"), an industrial settlement laid out in 1920 and well provided with open space. Napoleon's Hill (Tel Gerisa), on the western outskirts, is so called because of the erroneous belief that French cannon were stationed here for the bombardment of Jaffa in 1799. The hill was inhabited as early as the 18th century B.C.
In Ramat Gan, housed in the Diamond Exchange, is the Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Museum, with an interesting collection which is supplemented from time to time by valuable items displayed on loan. The process of diamond-cutting is explained in a film show.
Tel Aviv - Bar Ilan University
Shalom Road (Derekh Hashalom) in Tel Aviv runs 3km/2mi south to the campus of Bar Ilan University, founded in 1955 and named after a leader of orthodox Jewry. In all faculties particular importance is attached to Jewish religious studies.
Tel Aviv - Bene Beraq
To the east of Ramat Gan is the suburb of Bene Beraq, founded by orthodox Jews from Poland. Education in line with their beliefs is provided in a number of Talmudic schools.
Tel Aviv - Safari Park
The Safari Park in Tel Aviv is an area of 100 hectares (250 acres) in which African animals roam freely.
Northern Tel Aviv
The northern districts of Tel Aviv lie beyond the Yarqon (the "green" river), which in ancient times marked the boundary between the tribes of Ephraim to the north and Dan to the south. The lawns bordering the river are a popular place of resort, particularly on the Sabbath (boat hire).
Tel Aviv - Land of Israel Museum
The Eretz Israel Museum (Land of Israel Museum) in Tel Aviv occupies a large complex of buildings, the entrance to which is in University Road. By the parking lot is the Numismatic Museum. Also in the complex are the Museums of Ceramics, Glass, the History of Writing, the History of Science, Ethnography and Folklore and a department on "Man and his Work". Each of these collections covers its field from the earliest times to the present day. There is also a Planetarium.
Address: 2, Haim Levanon Street, 61170 Tel Aviv, Israel
Opening hours: 9am-3pm; Fri: 10am-2pm; Sat: 10am-2pm
Entrance fee in ILS: Adult 38.00, Local resident discount 35.00, Students 28.00, Child 26.00, Senior 17.00
Useful tips: Discounts available in combination with Planetarium tickets.
Facilities: Gift shop
Tel Aviv - Tell Qasileh
In the center of the Eretz Israel Museum complex in Tel Aviv is Tell Qasileh with its excavations and a pavilion displaying finds from the site. The Israeli archeologist B. Mazar identified twelve occupation levels on the tell, the earliest dating back to the 12th century B.C. A brick building of that period was found in stratum XII and a strong wall and two copper-smelting furnaces of the 11th century in stratum XI. These two levels are attributed to the Philistines. Stratum X dates from the 10th century, when, after David's conquest of the area, the kings of Israel had a port here. Recently some scholars have suggested that the cedarwood from Lebanon which Solomon required for the building of the Temple was landed here, at the mouth of the Yarqon, rather than in the port of Jaffa. The discovery of store-rooms and storage jars here have shown that at that period the agricultural produce of the region was shipped from Tell Qasileh. After its destruction by Egyptian forces the settlement was rebuilt by the kings of Israel in the ninth century B.C., but it was again destroyed by the Assyrians in 732 B.C. In the fifth century B.C. cedarwood from Lebanon was again landed here for the building of the Second Temple (Ezra 3,7). The later strata show that Tell Qasileh was still occupied in Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic times, after which it was abandoned in favor of Jaffa.
Tel Aviv - University
Tel Aviv - Diaspora Museum
At the southeast corner of the University campus in Tel Aviv is the Diaspora Museum (Beit HaTefuzot, the "House of the Dispersion"), founded in 1979, which illustrates the life and culture of Jews in different countries at different times with the help of films, recordings, models, a computer and a wide variety of exhibits.
Tel Aviv - The Heder Contemporary Art Gallery
The Heder Contemporary Art Gallery in Tel Aviv exhibits the works of Israeli and international artists in a variety of media, including sculpture, painting, photography, video, and performance. The gallery features changing exhibits throughout the year.
Tel Aviv - Ben-Gurion House
The interior of Ben Gurion's house in Tel Aviv has been left largely as it was when David Ben-Gurion and his wife Paula lived there. It also displays part of his library and numbers of his letters.
14km/8.5mi south of Tel Aviv is Rishon LeZion, one of the earliest Jewish agricultural settlements, founded in 1882.
Gate of Hope
A few kilometers east of Tel Aviv is Petah Tiqwa ("Gate of Hope"), the first modern Jewish farming village, founded in 1878. From difficult beginnings in an area of marshland it has developed into a flourishing city.In the center of the town is the Founders' Garden (Gan Hameyasdim), commemorating the early settlers. Adjoining are the first synagogue built in the town and the new Town Hall. At the near end of the town on the road from Bene Beraq, on right, is a stone arch erected in honor of Baron Edmond de Rothschild and the financial assistance he gave to the founders of the village.
More Tel Aviv-Jaffa Pictures
Map of Tel Aviv-Jaffa Attractions