Tel Aviv, often called “the city that never sleeps,” was the first modern Jewish city built in the Holy Land, and is the country’s economic and cultural centre. It is a lively, active city that abounds with entertainment, culture and art, festivals, and a rich night life. Situated on a 14-kilometer-long strip on the Mediterranean seacoast, Tel Aviv stretches beyond the Yarkon River to the north and the Ayalon River to the east. Hundreds of thousands of workers, visitors, tourists, and partygoers move about the city each day until the early hours of the morning, looking for the city’s nightclubs, restaurants, and centres of entertainment.
Tel Aviv began its history in Jaffa (Yafo) - the ancient 3,000-year-old adjoining city that lies to its southwest. The current Old City of Jaffa was built during the Ottoman Empire and its stone houses and narrow alleyways now house the picturesque artists’ quarter and tourist centre.
Among the main attractions of Old Jaffa are Gan HaPisga - the Summit Garden with its restaurants, galleries, shops with art craft, and unique atmosphere, the seaside promenade and walls of the old city, the visitors’ centre in the old courtyard, and the fishing port.
There are also several important Christian sites in Old Jaffa such as the Church of Saint Peter, which dates back to the 17th century, the house of Simon the Tanner where Peter had his vision of the non-kosher animals, and the tomb of Tabitha, whose righteous deeds enabled Peter to raise her from the dead. Around Jaffa there is the Ottoman clock tower, a vibrant flea market that is always worth visiting, and the Arab Ajami neighbourhood.
In 1909 sixty-six Jewish families who resided in Jaffa established the first neighbourhood of what would later become the city of Tel Aviv. The neighbourhood, called “Akhuzat Bayit” (homestead) was originally within Jaffa. In 1910 it was renamed Tel Aviv, and the neighbourhood began to expand. Other new neighbourhoods were added until it eventually became the centre of the Yishuv - the Jewish settlement in Palestine at the time. It was in Tel Aviv, on May 14 1948, that David Ben Gurion declared the independence of the State of Israel.
The former Akhuzat Bayit neighbourhood, which extends between Montefiore Street and Yehuda Halevy, is the historical core of Tel Aviv. To the west is the neighbourhood of Neveh Tsedek, which was the first Jewish neighbourhood to be established outside Jaffa in 1887. This neighbourhood was renovated in the 1980s and today it is a picturesque and charming neighbourhood where many of the original houses still stand.
There are many buildings in the neighbourhoods surrounding Akhuzat Bayit that were built in the diverse style that was popular in Tel Aviv in the 1920s. Clusters of buildings built in this style can be found on Nakhlat Binyamin and in the “heart of the city” - the triangle formed by Shenkin Street, Rothschild Boulevard, and Allenby Street.