Israel’s second city and cultural and commercial capital, Tel Aviv was named “The Mediterranean Capital of Cool” by the New York Times. A city with a savvy attitude and cultural astuteness, Tel Aviv is “the city which never sleeps”, a center for nightlife, cuisine, culture, and liberalism. Bordered on one side by the Mediterranean, sandy beaches stretch for miles, whilst whilst many prominent museums, and restored quarters such as the ancient Port of Jaffa, Neve Tzedek and the White City of Bauhaus style buildings make Tel Aviv a city which you can never stop exploring.
A short history of Tel Aviv…
Ancient Jaffa by jaime.silva, on Flickr
Tel Aviv celebrated its centenary in 2009, founded in 1909 as a suburb north of the city of Jaffa, believed to be the oldest port in the world. The suburb grew and grew, and eventually overtook Jaffa in size, merging with it after Israel’s independence to form a single municipality. Today, Jaffa is a pretty collection of lanes, and the city lies at the heart of the Israeli hi-tech industry known as Silicon Wadi.
Immigrants have come to Tel Aviv from far and wide, bringing with them their own styles of cuisine, culture, and architecture. As such, no matter what you are after, you’ll be sure to find it here. The city, the city has gained a reputation for high quality restaurants and a world-class cafe culture.
Tel Aviv street scene by Flickr user Jerry
Tel Aviv: Cultural Center
The Sun Rises Above Tel Aviv by Or Hiltch, on Flickr
Tel Aviv also has a large number of museums and galleries, which are sprawled around the city – from the world renowned Tel Aviv Museum of Art to smaller, more specialist museums such as the Museum of the History of Tel Aviv-Yafo, and the Bauhaus Museum which tell the story of Tel Aviv, and in particular of its unique architecture: in 2003, Tel Aviv was designated UNESCO World Heritage Status for its White City. This is an area around Rothschild Boulevard in the north of the city which has the world’s largest collection of international, or Bauhaus styled buildings. The area has recently been restored and is one of the trendiest neighborhoods of the city. The architecture of Tel Aviv also features some prominent eclectic style buildings.
In Rothschild Boulevard, modern and Bauhaus contrast by Flavio@Flickr, on Flickr
Since the 1980s gentrification has taken place in many of the formerly poor southern neighborhoods of the city to create what are now the trendiest quarters of this cool city such as Neve Tzedek, and increasingly, Florentin. These more Middle-Eastern style neighborhoods are at the heart of the Tel Aviv nightlife. Other areas to go, live, and be seen are the ultra-cool Sheinkin Street with its cafes and boutiques and the redeveloped Tel Aviv Port (Namal Tel Aviv) in the north of the city. Nearby, Hayarkon Park is a green oasis in the city.
Volleyball on Tel Aviv beach by Flavio@Flickr, on Flickr
The 1990s saw Tel Aviv move into a new era as the hi-tech industry developed around the city, bringing with it new skyscrapers. The tallest of these, the Azrieli Center Circular Tower offers an observation gallery with views across this vibrant, modern city.
A visit to Tel Aviv couldn’t be complete without a visit to the Tel Aviv Beach. Running the length of the city, from north to south, many of the large hotels overlook the promenade. The city also has a selection of unique, trendy, boutique hotels and more modestly priced hotels.