The second largest city in Israel, Tel Aviv is known as the “New York of Israel” for its standing as the commercial and financial center of the country. However, it can also be said that Tel Aviv shares New York’s moniker as “the city that never sleeps.” Tel Aviv is a vibrant, active metropolis on the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast, and it shows no signs of slowing down. But behind its 24/7 mystique, Tel Aviv’s backstory has much more humble beginnings. The city began life as little more than a sand dune.
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909, as the first all-Jewish city in modern times. Originally called Ahuzat Bayit, which translates to mean “homestead,” it was a suburb of the ancient port city of Jaffa. In 2010, the name was changed to Tel Aviv (meaning “hill of spring”). Over the decades, the population increased and the city began to prosper.
By the time Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, the population of Tel Aviv was over 200,000. Tel Aviv was the temporary government center for the State of Israel until the government moved to Jerusalem in 1949. One year later, in 1950, Tel Aviv and Jaffa merged and became one municipality.
Today, Tel Aviv boasts a population approaching 500,000 residents. It is considered Israel’s hottest property. With miles of coastline and endless opportunities to explore, it’s impossible to name all the aspects of what makes Tel Aviv so wonderful, but here are just a few reasons:
It’s a foodie paradise.
Tel Aviv is renowned for its culinary scene. From amazing restaurants and trendy bistros to the best of street food, the city has it all. And if you’re into a more moveable feast, don’t forget Tel Aviv’s market scene. From the legendary Carmel Market to the more modern Levinsky Market in the southern part of the city, it won’t be difficult to find what you’re looking for.
There are beaches as far as the eye can see…and maybe further.
Tel Aviv beaches are the focal point of social life in the city. Living in a beach town guarantees anything worthwhile doing can be done while ocean-gazing. The shores are perfect for everything from a quiet morning stroll to sunbathing or even playing volleyball. There are countless places on the beachfront offering drinks or dinner complete with spectacular sea views and warm breezes.
One of the oldest cities in the world is right next door.
Jaffa is arguably one of the world’s oldest port cities. Its name literally means “beautiful.” Believed by many to be founded by Japheth, one of the three sons of Noah, Jaffa’s reputation as a biblical landmark complements its eclectic history and mix of old and new architecture. Today it thrives as a multi-ethnic community with picturesque views and assortment of shops, markets, and restaurants.
The city is quite literally a work of art.
If architecture is your obsession, then Tel Aviv’s so-called White City boasts one of the most unique and extensive collections of Bauhaus architecture outside of Germany. The city’s center offers myriad examples of fine Modernist buildings of the 1930s. There are a number of great walking tours around this area and getting lost is highly recommended.