Tel Aviv, Israel’s biggest city, is a contrasting metropolis to Jerusalem. A true global city, Tel Aviv is a thoroughly modern and youth-oriented place. The heart of a thriving technology hub, it is the third-largest economy in the entire Middle East region as well as a capital of contemporary culture. Known for its arts scene and thriving nightlife, the city represents the country’s future just as Jerusalem represents its past. However, there are a number of important historical sites to visit in addition to the more contemporary ones.
Old City of Jaffa
The original epicentre of the city, Jaffa has a long, violent history which predates the city of Tel Aviv by millennia, emerging in significance during the Bronze Age. The city was lost its significance during the Hellenistic and Byzantine Periods, reemerging following Arab conquest in the 7th Century, only to once again fall back into obscurity. The Ottoman period saw the city resurgent once more only for Napoleon to annex it during the infamous Siege of Jaffa in 1799. In addition to the city’s extensive military history, Jaffa is also known for its connection to a number of important Biblical figures, namely Jonah and Solomon. The Old City of Jaffa, the oldest remnants of the ancient city, are located near its port, and are known for its distinct architecture and thriving creative community. This quirky part of Tel Aviv is worth a visit for its uniqueness and cultural depth.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Arguably the Middle East’s most substantial art museum, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art has emerged as one of the world’s premier collections of contemporary art. The museum’s collection draws from a wide range of artistic periods and movements including Impressionism, De Stijl, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. Artists whose work is included in the gallery include Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. A notable feature of the museum is the large mural created and donated by prominent pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. The museum is one of the country’s most important and certainly worth a visit.
The city’s most famous and bustling food market, Carmel Market is located near the city’s centre and hosts a broad range of delicacies, from local Israeli dishes to more international fare. The market has become increasingly popular amongst the city’s youth for its vibrant bars and restaurants. Amongst Tel Aviv’s many great food markets, Carmel stands out as the most similar to the city’s spirit.
One of the more unique museums in Israel, the Palmach Museum celebrates the country’s military history, specifically the Palmach, the elite unit of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF)’ predecessor the Hagallah. In addition to hosting a memorial to those lost in combat, the museum has a number of multimedia experiences, such as video which recount the country’s military history.
Tel Aviv Promenade
Arguably the best way to experience the city, Tel Aviv Promenade snakes along the city’s Mediterranean Coast, having been constructed in the 1930’ The Promenade offers beautiful views of the Mediterranean and also offers access to a number of great hiking trails. A focal aspect of the city’s infrastructure, bridging the city to the beach, the Promenade is the main point of access to many of the city’s amenities.
The city’s largest and most-visited urban park, Ha’Yarkon is named after the eponymous river, which flows through it. It is a highly popular recreational area amongst Tel Aviv locals, featuring a number of unique gardens as well as the city’s botanical gardens. The waterways offer the park a unique sense of character. The park has become known over the past few decades as a popular concert venue during the summer months, with acts such as Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson playing there amongst many others. There are few better places to soak in the laid-back atmosphere of Tel Aviv than Park Ha’
Arguably the most well-known of the city’s many beaches, Gordon Beach is a hub of activity in Tel Aviv, attracting many visitors and revellers to its shores. In addition to its beauty, the beach is also well-known for its high-quality range of restaurants as well as its thriving nightlife scene. A popular locale amongst the city’s youth as well as tourists, Gordon Beach is a premier destination for those seeking leisure in its many forms.
Nachalat Binyamin Art Market
One of the city’s lesser-known and more specialist markets, Nachalat Binyamin is worth a visit for these reasons alone. Open only twice per week, the market specialises in arts and crafts, offering visitors a great insight into Israeli artisanship. Having been a cultural fixture of Tel Aviv for the last thirty years, vendors are known to have to pass a strict quality control test before allowing to exhibit their work. A unique cultural institution of Israel, the Nachalat Binyamin Art Market is a great way to learn about the city’s thriving and multi-layered artistic community.
Eretz Israel Museum
One of the city’s most unique museums, the Eretz Israel Museum specialises in archaeological and anthropological artefacts, containing several pavilions each corresponding to a distinct area. Amongst these include the Glass Pavillion, specialising in the history of Glass production. The diverse range of subjects make the Eretz Israel Museum stand out from many others. A singular museum experience, the experience is bolstered by the stunning views of the city from the museum.
One of the city’s most glamorous neighbourhoods, Neve Tzedek is notable for being one of the first Jewish settlements in the city. Now one of Tel Aviv’s wealthiest districts, the area is renowned for its multi-faceted architectural identity, featuring a number of different styles, especially Bauhaus. The area’s eclectic physical appearance mirrors its artistic heritage as the home to a number of Israeli craftsmen.