I must admit, I really love Tel Aviv. I just wish I could afford to live there! I did for a time when I was an overseas student at Tel Aviv University. That’s when I fell in love with the city. For many years I’ve lived in Jerusalem and I love that city too. Some people say that the two cities are worlds apart but I think they complement each other. Any visit to Israel should include both. Now I live just north of Tel Aviv and I take advantage of all the city has to offer.
Tel Aviv is a very young city. It was founded only in 1909 on the sand dunes along the beach just north of Jaffa. But since that time just over a hundred years ago, the city has grown both in size and in stature. Tel Aviv is Israel’s financial and cultural center and believe it or not it has a lot of history too! Did you know that the Turks forced the population to evacuate it during WWI? Did you know that the State of Israel was declared in Tel Aviv?
Each wave of immigrants into pre-state Israel changed the character of Tel Aviv. Some of the neighborhoods now included within the municipality date from before the city’s founding. The driving force was the desire of Jews to leave crowded, unsanitary and predominantly Arab Jaffa. The city became known as the first Hebrew city in the modern Land of Israel. After the founding of the state Jaffa was incorporated into the municipal boundaries which is why the city today is officially known as Tel Aviv-Yafo.
From its inception, the city grew beyond all expectations. Originally it was planned as a small garden town but with more and more people arriving from Europe the city quickly changed and kept on growing. In the years leading up to WWII many Jewish architects fleeing Nazi Germany came to Tel Aviv where they designed many Bauhaus buildings. In fact, Tel Aviv is a UNESCO Heritage site due to all the Bauhaus structures. The architecture of the buildings from the 1920s is, in my opinion, even more beautiful. But architecture isn’t all that Tel Aviv has to offer.
The city is known for its great restaurants and night life. There are some beautiful and interesting places to hang out such as Sarona, the Station, Neveh Tzedek, Rothschild Boulevard and the Tel Aviv Port. We have two great major theaters – the Cameri and Habima, with many shows featuring simultaneous English translations. And there are all kinds of smaller and experimental theaters to check out too. The city is home to the country’s main opera company and dance companies. And the city is home to the famous Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art is world renowned and there are so many other amazing museums to explore.
And when you’re really exhausted from all the city has to offer, you can just hang out at the incredible beachfront. What could be better than laying on the beach or strolling along the promenade watching the sun go down over the Mediterranean before going out to party again.