Tel Aviv was my base for the entirety of my two-week stay in Israel. In between day-trips, I gave myself one full day of dedicated exploration of the city and two more days for taking it slow and easy. From the tourist point of view, that is more than enough to get a good feel for a city of a relatively modest size.
Notwithstanding the ancient history present in Yafo, Tel Aviv is a very young town – it was formally founded only in 1909. That contributes to the fact that it is not too rich on the visual highlights of the kind that I usually find irresistible. Quaint pockets do exist, but the most lasting visual impression of Tel Aviv probably comes from the perspectives along Tayelet, its city-length seaside promenade. Here is the south-to-north view.
And a couple of fragments.
And an opposite view, towards historic Yafo.
Another close-up of Tayelet in its beach resort area. This is still pretty early on a Sunday morning, so both pedestrian and vehicular traffic is pretty light; by the noon-time, the place will feel downright crowded, staying that way well into the night.
A few shots of the beaches that Tayelet hugs.
Rothschild Boulevard is another street in Tel Aviv with the claim as one of the most popular to stroll along. The boulevard is not exactly grand in my view, and yet not bereft of architectural and design highlights.
The man on the horse in the above shot is Meir Dizengoff, the first mayor of Tel Aviv, who famously rode a horse from his home to the office every day.
And in the background of the next shot is the Founders Monument and Fountain, a dedication to the men and women who founded the city.
A few fragments of Neve Tsedek, the most quaint of Tel Aviv’s neighborhoods, with narrow streets, picturesque houses, and a bohemian vibe.
Carmel Market is busy to the point of being suffocating. You can buy practically anything here, but of course sweets and spices make for the most colorful of displays.
Let’s take another look from the distance at the Old Yafo.
Yafo – which is a proper transliteration of the Hebrew name whereas the widely used Jaffa is the Anglicized version – is a city with nearly 4,000 years of history, making it older than Jerusalem by quite some margin. Nowadays, there is no formal boundary between Yafo and Tel Aviv, and the two towns make up a single municipality with the dual name of Tel Aviv-Yafo.
Yafo’s old town core is pretty compact and offers no more than a few minor points of interest. The highest building is the bell tower of the late-19th-century St Peter’s Church.
This view of the Old Yafo from its port, together with the perspective from Tayelet, is one of its signature looks.
19th-century wooden balconies are among the most arresting details.
Al Bahr Mosque at the edge of the Old Town.
Inside the Old Yafo, a few picturesque narrow passages and stairways.
At the highest point of the Peak Park above Yafo stands this unusual arch, called the Gate of Faith, built in 1975.
View from here to the high-rises of Tel Aviv.
The minaret of Mahmoudiya Mosque and the Clock Tower are the principal highlights of the skyline as you leave Yafo behind and walk towards Tel Aviv proper.
The muezzin call sets forward from the minaret four times a day (the fifth prayer – at night – is left without a public reminder). Minarets always meant to help the calls to prayer be heard as far from the mosque as possible, but in our times, a muezzin no longer has to climb all of those narrow steps up to perform his duties. Modern technology found its uses even in the matters of piety – you can probably notice the loudspeakers above the lower minaret platform.
Here is the edge of Yafo, Yossi Carmel Square and David Raziel Street marked by the Clock Tower that was erected in 1903.
The apartment that I called home for those two weeks is a few blocks away from here, which aided the circle square in becoming likely the most frequented-by-me location on the entire trip.
A couple of random street shots taken in this area at different times.
And the truly parting shot, made on the early morning of my departure back to the States.
Every time I compose a photo-essay of this kind I invariably start to feel that I did not do the city justice, that I missed places and points of interest that may have made my visit there more complete. Tel Aviv is no exception. I have to make sure that I do not wait as long for my second visit there as I had waited for the first one.
People who have been here already may reasonably ask why someone who is so architecturally-focused as I am makes no reference in this post to the Bauhaus architecture for which Tel Aviv is relatively famed. The White City happens to be a recognized World Heritage site, which means that it gets a dedicated blog entry according to the customs of this WH chaser. Watch this space!