Tel Aviv, the Pearl of Israel

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv – an Israeli municipality, lying on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, which includes a new city in the early twentieth century and the ancient Jaffa. Tel Aviv itself is home to only 400 thousand people, but with the suburbs, combined with a convenient transportation network, the number rises to 3.5 million. There are more important in Israel in historical, cultural and resort areas, but Tel Aviv attracts tourists with bright contrasts. Ultra-modern high-rise blocks are side by side with narrow seaside streets, typical for the Middle East, luxury restaurants – with cheap eateries, giant department stores – with flea markets, beaches and parks – with business centers.

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Surrounded by wide golden sand beaches, Tel Aviv is a vibrant, fun-loving city with hundreds of bars, cafes and restaurants that don’t get empty until morning even in the middle of the work week. It is often called the “youth capital” of Israel. Here you will find world-class museums, art galleries, theaters, and orchestras. Such an easy, relaxed atmosphere cannot be found in any other Israeli city!

Tel Aviv is less than a century old. The city was founded in 1909 by Jewish immigrants, and literally on an empty but picturesque place in the desert north of the ancient port of Jaffa.

Tel Aviv can not be called beautiful, but its block of Bauhaus houses is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the boulevards under the shade of trees, spacious green parks and promenade are full of special charm. Modern Tel Aviv with its secular habits, new buildings and vibrant social life is totally different from Jerusalem.

Streets of Tel Aviv Old City Jaffa

Tel Aviv is not only a social center, but also the economic, commercial and transportation center of the country. The unrecognized status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has contributed to Tel Aviv’s role as administrative capital, especially in regard to foreign embassies and consulates, which are located here.

Adjacent to Tel Aviv on the coast is the ancient port of Jaffa, now converted into a pleasant suburb of the modern city. Cobblestone alleys form the old town of Jaffa, and the busy streets are filled with the life of a typical Arab neighborhood.

Weather in Tel Aviv

Summer in Tel Aviv is hot and dry, with heat peaking in May. Despite the refreshing proximity to the sea, many tourists from northern countries have trouble enduring the summer heat in Tel Aviv, and prefer to visit during the winter months, when temperatures are consistently above 10 ° C. The main rainfall is from October until early spring. Rainfall in summer is rare: two months without a drop from the sky is the norm for this Mediterranean city.

History of Tel Aviv

According to ancient Egyptian written monuments, Jaffa, or Joppa, is at least 3,500 years old. In ancient times the city was one of the most important ports on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Jaffa relatively survived the rule of the Romans: destroyed during the Jewish War, the city was rebuilt and continued to develop. Under the Arabs, beginning in the seventh century, the port lost its commercial importance, receiving only ships with Christian and Jewish pilgrims. The former glory returned to Jaffa only in the XII century, when the Crusaders came here, but only for a century. When the Muslims drove out the uninvited guests from Israeli territories, Jaffa was destroyed just in case, so that the next strangers would not think of using it as a military port. Jaffa took four whole centuries to recover from the blow and remained a poor, sparsely populated eastern town, then the port gradually began to be rebuilt. In 1799 Napoleon’s troops occupied it, but without the devastation and pogroms.

In 1909 on the outskirts of Jaffa rebuilt a new quarter, where the Jews settled. In 1910, the residents chose the name Tel Aviv, which translates from Hebrew as “hill of spring” – a symbol of the hopes for renewal and the revival of the Israeli state. It is here that emigrants from the Russian Empire, later joined by refugees from Nazi Germany. Tel Aviv was rapidly growing, becoming the center of Jewish Palestine, and Jaffa was already considered its suburbs. In 1948 the city was proclaimed the formation of a new Middle East state of Israel, and the first meetings of the parliament were held. In 1950 Tel Aviv and Jaffa were officially united into a single municipality. Tel Aviv took over the function of administrative, educational and commercial center, and Jaffa remained as an open-air museum, a favorite vacation spot for tourists and local bohemia.

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Old pictures of Tel Aviv

Sightseeing in Tel Aviv

The main advantage of Tel Aviv in the eyes of visitors is its eclecticism. If there has never been a world-famous architectural masterpieces, but the residents of the city have managed to keep the unique color of multi-ethnic and multi-confessional seaside city. An example of a typical mix of styles in Tel Aviv is the Pagoda House on Albert Square, which can hardly be kept at the edge of good taste. Anywhere else in the world the abundance of little compatible Moorish-Moorish details would seem to be an architect’s mistake, but the scorching sun and sea breeze soften the impression of excessive pompousness and the house looks very organic.

Pagoda House in Tel Aviv Azrieli Center

A bird’s-eye view of the city is available at the Azrieli Center from the paid observation deck on the 49th floor. Experienced tourists warn newcomers not to rely too much on the capabilities of the facility: it is sometimes closed due to private events, and the windows can be dusty. Ideally, when the weather is good, the view from the top is of “White City,” the UNESCO-protected neighborhoods of low-rise buildings from the 1930s. It is about 4,000 snow-white buildings of strict forms, made according to the projects of representatives of the German “Bauhaus”, a modernist trend in architecture and design. Natives of Germany, Jewish architects left pre-war Europe for Palestine and went to build up Tel Aviv.

The sights of Jaffa

In the palm-lined park of Abrasha, on the Hill of Licence, there is the Gate of Faith, a four-meter white sculpture in the form of an arch that reproduces biblical themes. The connection with antiquity in the work of the modern sculptor is not only symbolic: the gate rests on original stones taken from the Wailing Wall. The three-story Clock Tower with a sharp spire will not strike the imagination of tourists who have seen European churches, but its appearance in Jaffa in the early twentieth century was a landmark event. Normally clocks were attached to temple buildings – churches and mosques – and the Clock Tower was the first secular structure of its kind, a testament to the thrust for progress. It was recently restored, and the clock strikes every 30 minutes again.

The Clock Tower at Jaffa Gates of Faith

Monuments of Religious Architecture

There are Jewish, Muslim and Christian churches of architectural interest in Tel Aviv. Sometimes this happens independently of the will of the architect, as was the case with the Great Synagogue, located next to Rothschild Boulevard, on Allenby Street. The nearly century-old classical building was constantly rebuilt until it acquired an avant-garde look not envisioned by the original design. It now resembles an ancient temple surrounded by slender stalactite columns around its perimeter. The Zimbalist Synagogue in the Tel Aviv University garden appears to the uninitiated eye as two massive upside-down bowls.

The Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv The Synagogue of Zimbalista St. Peter’s Church

Next to the Tel Aviv Botanical and Zoological Gardens is St. Peter’s Church with the tallest bell tower in the city. Nearby, in a chapel decorated with fifth-century Byzantine mosaics, is buried Tabitha, a disciple of Jesus – the only woman honored with this title. A diligent seamstress, she was a moral support for the widows and unmarried women of Joppa. Her sudden death was a huge blow to them, but the apostle Peter who appeared at her side raised the deceased, which is why the church near the legendary site of the resurrection was dedicated to him. There are some unusual Muslim buildings in Tel Aviv, such as the century-old Sea Mosque in Jaffa. Its sandstone minaret resembles a lighthouse, as befits a building standing on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

Museums of Tel Aviv

The House of Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv, became a museum in memory of the historic event – the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1948. Initially it exhibited thematic archaeological and art collections at the same time, but since 2012 the administration left only the objects directly related to the history of the city. Collections of paintings moved to the Art Museum. Its main building is a strict geometric building located on Shaul-ha-Melech Boulevard, next to the classical Chamber Theater and the avant-garde Opera House. The museum boasts an impressive collection of Western European painting from the first half of the 20th century and American avant-garde from the mid-20th century. Due to lack of space, part of the collection is moved to a branch of the museum, the Helena Rubinstein Pavilion, 500 meters southwest of the main building. The museum closes at 14 hours on Friday in connection with the Sabbath, respectively, does not work on Saturday, like all cultural institutions in the country, the ticket to it costs 50 shekels.

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Museum of Antiquities in Jaffa

Every square meter of Jaffa is of interest to archaeologists, which is why the municipality has wisely opened the Museum of Antiquities right on the site of the excavations in Kdumim Square, above the house of a noble Roman. The exhibition rooms are hidden underground, on the level where Joppa once stood. The museum displays utensils and other ancient artifacts from the excavation site, though the most important objects have been dispersed to museums around the world. Tours are led by English-speaking guides, who show tourists informative films about the history of the city.

More valuable items are collected in the Archaeological Museum, opened in the remnants of the Ottoman fortifications of the XVIII century. For 50 shekels tourists are offered to view a vast exhibition, ranging from Egyptian times to the Middle East Middle Ages.

Treatment in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv metropolitan area is a recognized center of medical tourism. The medical facilities differ in their specialties and range of services provided. A giant complex serving all of Tel Aviv is Ichilov Hospital, or, more officially, the Suraski Medical Center. On Weizmann Street, not far from the city’s Museum of Art, there is a medical tourism building of this institution. The department employs specialists who will advise on the cost and duration of treatment in Russian. As part of the contract foreigners will be provided with an interpreter during the entire period of treatment, help solve the issues on accommodation, if the treatment does not require hospitalization, accommodation of accompanying persons, travel.

A large private clinic “Assuta”, located near the concert hall “Zappa”, specializes in diseases requiring surgical intervention, cardiology, in vitro fertilization. Several famous medical centers have been built in the suburbs: Edith Wolfson Hospital in Holon, south of Jaffa, and Yitzhak Rabin Hospital in Petah Tikva, east of the city. The latter is famous for its children’s ward, including for cancer patients. To the east of Tel Aviv, in Ramat Gan, medical tourism for professionals is practiced: the Chaim Sheba Center accepts foreign doctors for internships.

Beach recreation in Tel Aviv

City sandy beaches are clean and not too crowded. Since there is already a strong current near the shore, inexperienced foreigners are strongly advised to avoid the “wild” areas and to rest near the lifeguards.

In warm winters, when the locals do not venture into the water, visitors climb into the sea at their own risk – lifeguards do not work at this time of year. During the season, to the delight of surfers, black flags often appear on Tel Aviv beaches – a sign that because of the high waves bathing is prohibited, although visitors do not stop it. In the hot season, there is a high risk of heat stroke or sunstroke. Safety rules in Tel Aviv are standard: do not stand in the sun, go to the beach in the morning and evening hours, always carry water.

The transport system of Tel Aviv

For transportation within Tel Aviv is responsible bus carrier “Dan”. Comfortable transportation adapted to the movement of disabled people, distinguishes an important feature: on Fridays, all traffic stops before sunset and is restored only by late Saturday evening. The average cost of a trip is about 100 rubles, but the exact amount depends on the route. In the coming years, single tickets will be replaced by a single pass, valid for all public transport in the country.

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Despite the excellent condition and high level of service, Tel Aviv’s transportation system is not perfect. In the future, the Israelis plan to replace buses with environmentally friendly electric buses and to open a network of light rail transport, so that the citizens will stop using their own cars. This is indeed a serious problem for the city: due to the constant traffic jams the speed on the Tel Aviv roads does not exceed 10 km/h. The first of the four branches of the express tramway, which in some places goes underground like the subway, is scheduled to be put into operation in 2021. The timing is roughly set, one postponement of the launch has already happened. In the meantime, authorities have switched some motorists to bicycles. There is a network of bicycle lanes all over the city, but it must be kept in mind that Tel Aviv riders are not disciplined and pedestrians have to be constantly on guard even in the promenade walking areas.

Restaurants and Cafes

Catering establishments of various classes in new Tel Aviv, and in the tourist area of Jaffa. Especially recommended to try fresh fish and seafood in Jaffa. The cheapest place to go, from 800 rubles, will be the ubiquitous “McDonald’s” and snack bars specializing in falafels – nutritious fried balls of beans, seasoned with spices. The portions are usually so plentiful that they can be split for two. At serious restaurants, a dinner with wine will cost 4,000-5,000 rubles. Even more expensive will cost a trip to the concert venue-restaurant Zappa on Raoul Wallenberg Street, an iconic place for fans of rock music.

The Sabbath norms also apply to catering – everything is closed in Tel Aviv from Friday to Saturday. If you rent an apartment and cook for yourself, you can buy food at the markets just before closing time, especially before the Sabbath – then the prices are halved. Among the most popular food markets are the Carmel and the Port Farmers Market. Ready-to-eat takeout is on sale Thursday and Friday on the first floor of the Dizengoff Center.

Where to Stay

You can spend a night in hotels with conveniences on the floor and in hostels for 1,5 thousand rubles, for minimum comfort you’ll have to pay 3-4 thousand rubles. More attractive rooms in 3-4-star hotels are about the same, the quality and quantity of services they actually do not differ from each other, but some hotels do not take guests with children. In Tel Aviv apartments for rent for short and long term rentals, usually with all the necessary equipment. The seasonal difference in prices is 20% – in the winter accommodation is slightly cheaper than in summer.

Shopping in Tel Aviv

Tourists usually buy gifts and souvenirs in the duty-free international airport, as in the malls in Tel Aviv, all too expensive. Artisans manage to find affordable knitwear of excellent quality, buy in private shops handmade souvenirs. At the “flea market” Shuk-a-Pishpishim in Jaffa, you can find interesting stuff for next to nothing, especially if you bargain well. The Nahalat Beliamin crafts fair is open on Tuesdays and Fridays.

At Shuk a Pishpishim Market Nahalat Beliamin Fair

Security issues in Tel Aviv

Despite the frightening information about terrorism, violent crime in Israel in general and in Tel Aviv in particular is much lower than in Russia. During the day there is no fear of theft or robbery in any part of the city, and only at night should you avoid walking alone in the parks. If your plane arrived at night and you took the electric train, you can walk to your place of residence without fear. The only statistically likely crime is stealing things from a parked car. Of course, the threat of a terrorist attack exists, so police checks of documents, trunks or bags should be treated with understanding. In Tel Aviv there is no need to be afraid of the police.

How to get to Tel Aviv

Foreigners arrive in Tel Aviv via Ben Gurion International Airport, located about 15 km to the north-west, in the suburb of Lod. From there, there are round-the-clock trains to the central station in the city. Tel Aviv – the most important railway hub of the country, from it you can get by train to any part of Israel. Now it is the main way to get fast intercity travel, since the domestic airport, located within Tel Aviv city limits, was closed in the summer of 2016. Ben-Gurion Airport took over part of its load, while ground transportation took on the rest of the passenger traffic.

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Tel Aviv / Israel

Tel Aviv is the real resort “pearl” of Israel. Besides it is constantly developing cultural and business center of the country. The metropolis attracts tourists cleanest beaches, interesting excursions to the ancient port, ancient quarter of Jaffa and a beautiful area of Neve Tzedek.

In today’s Tel Aviv, the old traditions are in harmony with innovative technology and modern trends. The picturesque promenade is interesting with its busy nightlife. And of course there is the Museum of the Diaspora, where you can experience all that the Jewish people have experienced during their long years of wandering.

Tel Aviv / Israel

Old City (Jaffa)

It is one of the oldest settlements of the planet. The first people lived here in the XVII-XVI centuries BC. Jaffa flourished in ancient times, but it was destroyed during the Judean War. It was not until the Emperor Vespasian that it was rebuilt. The Arabs and the Crusaders made Jaffa the most important port. In the XIII century the city was destroyed by Sultan Beibars I, after which for four centuries there were only ruins. Only in the last century Jaffa was joined to Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv / Israel- The Old City (Jaffa)

The Old Port

The old harbor was in operation in 1938-65. For 30 years the harbor was abandoned, but in the 90s it became a tourist area. Now the Old Port attracts restaurants, souvenir shops, stores, promenade areas and an antique bazaar.

Tel Aviv / Israel / Old City (Jaffa)

Azrieli Center

The most modern center, which includes three skyscrapers – triangular, square and round towers. The complex was named after a local businessman who helped realize the project. The 49th floor of the round tower is equipped as an observation deck with a beautiful view of the metropolis.

Tel Aviv / Israel Center of Azrieli

Neve Tzedek area

Previously there was a Jewish village, which was the first outside the Jaffa area. In order to build residential buildings, you had to buy the land from the Muslims. Later, Europeans began to come here. As a result, the modern Neve Tzedek neighborhood now resembles Krakow, Prague or Munich. After its desolation at the end of the last century, the area flourished again.

Tel Aviv / Israel- Neve Tzedek area

White City

White City refers to neighborhoods in the center of the city in which houses are painted in the appropriate color. This region was built in the first half of the last century in the Bauhaus style, so the houses here are comfortable and functional, despite the minimalism. White City is a monument of urban planning, so it is protected by UNESCO.

Tel Aviv / Israel-White City

Pagoda House

This beautiful building was built in 1925 by combining several architectural styles. The construction was managed by A. Levi, and the owner was M. Bloch. Initially, the local oligarch did not like the project Levy, so the businessman turned to a specialist from the United States, but the American idea was rejected. As a result, Bloch went back to Levy, who decided to take revenge on the businessman by mixing the architectural styles in the building.

Tel Aviv / Israel - Pagoda House

Palmach Museum

The collection tells the story of the eponymous Jewish combat units, which were founded at the beginning of World War II to defend Palestine against a possible attack by the Germans. In 1948, the units became part of the country’s Defense Army. The museum appeals with its interactive style, allowing visitors to explore history through video clips and special effects.

Tel Aviv / Israel- Museum of Palmach

Diaspora Museum.

The cultural center was opened in honor of the 30th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. The exhibition tells the story of the Jewish community, which was scattered all over the planet. Even before Christ, Nebuchadnezzar II began the wanderings of the Jews by capturing Jerusalem. In the museum, you can learn how Israelis lived in other nations.

Tel Aviv / Israel- Museum of the Diaspora

Eretz Israel Museum

A large-scale cultural center with a rich display of archaeological and historical elements found in Israel. Several pavilions of interest include ceramics, coins, jewelry, and tableware. The museum was founded five years after the independence of Israel.

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Tel Aviv / Israel - Israel / Eretz Israel Museum

Museum of Fine Arts

A large-scale art gallery with paintings, sculptures and photographs. The museum was opened in 1932 in the building where M. Dizengoff, the mayor of the city, lived. In addition to several pavilions, the cultural center also boasts an educational center.

Tel Aviv / Israel- Museum of Fine Arts

Ilana Gur Museum

The museum honors the self-taught artist. Ilana Gur suffered from dyslexia, which made her learn everything on her own. She used different materials for her creations, but mostly she used metal. The museum has been functioning since 1995 in Jaffa. Previously there was a hotel for pilgrims in the building.

Tel Aviv / Israel - Ilana Gur Museum

Museum of the National Defense Forces

The main military attraction in Israel, which in the middle of the last century was founded by D. Ben-Gurion, one of the creators of the state. The collection includes a variety of weapons, military trophies and equipment. You can also admire the government car park.

Tel Aviv / Israel - National Defense Army Museum

Jaffa Clock Tower

The structure was built at the beginning of the last century with the money of the inhabitants of the Old City. At that time Tel Aviv belonged to the Ottoman Empire, therefore the tower was opened to commemorate the anniversary of the accession to the throne of Abdul-Hamid II. This is the first civilian structure with a dial. Before the tower was built, only church bell towers and minarets could boast clocks.

Tel Aviv / Israel - Jaffa Clock Tower

Sarona Market

A rooftop bazaar selling a variety of delicacies. In addition to selling vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and seafood, the market is a place to relax and scoop up wine boutiques, cafes, and tea stores. In addition, Sarona Market is an interesting culinary school “Bishulim”, where you can learn how to prepare delicious dishes.

Tel Aviv/Israel-Sarona Market

Carmel Market

Another market in the metropolis made it to the list of attractions. Shuk ha-Karmel has been operating since 1920. It is the largest bazaar in the city. Initially, Jews who came from Russia after the October Revolution traded here. Modern Carmel Market differs from the stores by its more affordable prices, so it attracts citizens from all corners of Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv / Israel- Carmel Market

Flea market

Specializes in antiques from all over the world. Jaffa flea market is interesting for tourists because it offers a true flavor of the city. In addition, it sells antiques and unique items, so the market is especially popular among collectors and lovers of antiques.

Tel Aviv/Israel Flea Market

Suspended Orange Tree

A pot of orange trees suspended from cables is considered one of Israel’s calling cards. After independence the export of oranges became more active, which helped the country’s economy. In the 19th century it developed its own variety of citrus, the “Jaffa”.

Tel Aviv / Israel-Hung Orange Tree

Yarkon Park and River

In the north of the city flows the Yarkon River, on the banks of which stretches a beautiful park. The scenic area includes six themed areas. People come here to stroll through the tropical garden, cactus garden and rock garden. The park also attracts water rides, a go-kart track and playgrounds.

Tel Aviv/Israel-Yarkon Park & River

City promenade

The place of concentration of entertainment of the metropolis. Even on Jewish holidays, some establishments are open here. During the daytime you can relax on the white sandy beach, and at nighttime there are trendy night clubs and discotheques with bars.

Tel Aviv/Israel City Promenade

Beach areas

Tel Aviv is the cultural center of the country and the most popular resort on the Mediterranean coast. In the west of the city there is a long sandy strip. Local beaches are well-developed infrastructure and are equipped with everything you need for a good rest. Also the coast has a special beach, where the orthodox Jews relax.

Tel Aviv / Israel - Beach areas

Russian Orthodox Church

Address: Russian Orthodox Church, Herzl Street, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv/Israel-Russian Orthodox Church

Great Synagogue

Address: Great Synagogue, Allenby Street, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv/Israel - The Great Synagogue

Caesarea National Park

Address: Caesarea National Park, Caesarea, Israel.

Location: Ramat Aviv district.

Address: Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv / Israel- Ramat Aviv neighborhood

The first skyscraper Migdal Shalom Meir

Address: Shalom Meir Tower, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv / Israel-First Migdal Shalom Meir Skyscraper

Rothschild Boulevard

Address: Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv / Israel - Rothschild Boulevard

Frishman beach

Address: Frishman Beach, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv / Israel - Frishman's Beach

Port of Jaffa

Address: Port of Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv/Israel-Jaffa Port

Yitzhak Rabin Cultural Center

Address: Yitzhak Rabin Cultural Center, Chaim Levon Street, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv / Israel - Yitzhak Rabin Cultural Center

Habima Theater

Address: Habima Theater, Tarsat Avenue, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Tel Aviv / Israel - Gabima Theater

Diamond Exchange

Address: Diamond exchange, Tuval Street, Ramat Gan, Israel.

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