We will start our walking tour in Jaffa. Jaffa is mentioned in ancient texts as early as the 15th BC as well as four times in the Bible, most notably when King David and his son Solomon conquered the city and used its port to bring in the cedars of Lebanon for the construction of the Temple. Jaffa’s history is rich and varied and covers many historical periods. There are loads of stories connected to Jaffa and even mythology!
Most of what we see today dates to the 19th century and beyond. Until the end of the 19th century, Jaffa was still a walled city surrounded by a moat. The moat was filled, the city expanded to the East and the Jaffa-Jerusalem train started running in 1892 bringing modernity to the region. As a result, Jaffa was one of seven cities in Palestine to have a clock-tower and one of 25 throughout the Empire.
Our next steps will take us toward Neve Tzedek, the first Jewish quarter outside of Jaffa, established in 1887 in response to an over-crowded city. On the way, we pass through the beautiful American Colony established in 1866 by Christian Americans called Christian Lovers of Zion.
Finally, we move toward the neighborhood of Neve Tzedek. We are standing on the bridge that crosses into the new Neve Tzedek coming from Migdal Neve Tzedek. It is called the Chellouche Bridge and crossed the path of the train that went from Jaffa through Beith Hadar, Lod Ramla and Jerusalem.
We are now in the heart of the Neve Tzedek quarter built by Chelouche, next to the Suzanne Delal center. The center is based on the Alliance founded by Netter, school for boys and the girls school. In the boys school, classes were taught in French and in the girls school, classes were taught in Hebrew so that actually, boys went there too.
Other landmarks I will point out include the old Eden Cinema built in 1913 that was the first Hebrew Cinema, the old Chelouche Freres factory and the Nahum Gutman Museum. We will also see Shimon Rokach Street with Shimon Rokach’s house owned by his grand-daughter Leah Mintz. She is an artist and displays her art and the history of her family.
See the Tachana old train station. The end train station on the Jaffa-Jerusalem line is located between the sea shore and the Neveh Zedek neighborhood and operated from 1892 to 1948.
Our steps will take us into Tel Aviv where you will visit the Migdal Shalom, or Shalom Tower, the highest and most modern building of its time built in 1965. See the wonderful Nahum Gutman mosaics telling the story of the development of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. A superb model on the first floor will also make the lay-out and development of the city easier to understand.
We will walk past the lovely Nahum Gutman fountain at the top of Rothschild Boulevard and continue our steps toward Independence Hall where it all began.
Tel Aviv, dubbed The White City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Today it is sometimes difficult to perceive the reasons why because of its sprawling metropolis look but strolling down Rothschild Boulevard and going on some of the tangent streets, it becomes more evident why this was so. Tel Aviv boasts about 4000 buildings built in the 1930′s and 1940′s in the fashionable International Style also known as Bauhaus Style. It is the largest concentration of this type of architecture anywhere in the world and the municipality is trying, little by little and at high cost, to rehabilitate this extraordinary heritage.