Arriving at 5pm in Tel Aviv, through Security and into a rental car, we dashed to our reserved Lusky Suites Hotel with the sun-lit Mediterranean Sea and the promenade viewed from our balcony.
Tel Aviv was created in 1909, when the Jewish National Fund purchased land among the dunes north of the old Arab port of Jaffa and named it Tel Aviv “Hill of the Spring”.
While not a beautiful city in its self, its rebel but friendly attitude and vitality are most appealing. Dinner that evening, overlooking the Mediterranean shore, was alive with people of all ages and many cultures, walking, sitting but most of all, socializing, along the promenade.
With only 2 days here, we planned the first for a walkabout of the Bauhaus buildings which received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004. This was a pre-Nazi German architectural style of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The over 4000 Bauhaus buildings have earned Tel Aviv the nickname “The White City”.
As an architectural form, the buildings are based on functionality rather than glamor but the elongated balconies and rounded corners vastly appealed to me. Some of them are sensually appealing and I wanted to run my hand over them.
THEN OFF TO JAFFA, one of the most beautiful ancient sea ports in the world! According to to the Bible, Jaffa was built after the great flood by Noah’s son Japheth.
Remains have been unearthed dating back to the 20th century BC , establishing this site as one of the world’s oldest ports. After a decline in 1948, it revived as a center for arts, crafts and dinning. We can vouch for the food, sea view, salty breeze and the beautiful antiquity of this ancient site.
We found the Visitors Center on the main plaza just in time for the “English” tour of the “Underground” . Down one level was a museum with many relics: statues, working implements, part of a fishing boat and the like from hundreds/thousands of years ago, all excavated from from this site. Our guide told us who used them and when. Unbelievable. How many cultures passed through and left their mark??
Two stories down we found the on-going excavation of a Greek village. The stairs took us down-and-around the walls and room of a typically ancient house opening to a section of the forum and a water well. The excavators were not the least bothered by our passage. The guide said they had many more levels planned for digging. (That’s probably why the workers were smiling!)
At the end of the tour, we were led to an enormous circular viewing screen. A marvelous 3-D video of the history of Jaffa was presented. I wanted to see it again but our guide said another group was entering and another language would be used. (Dam)
Hot and tired, we headed back to our hotel. Later we walked to an outside Kosher restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and sipped an excellent wine.
What a fabulous way to do the archeological dig: Artifacts on one level and ongoing dig going down so you can see what they’re uncovering. We rarely stop to think about what’s under our feet and with a city so old, there’s plenty. Great post!
Ann, thank you for your wonderful comment! By the time we got 2 floors down I was
a bit overwhelmed with the experience.
What a summer of travel I’ve had. You in Israel and Lance in South Africa! Your photos and descriptions have given me the best history lesson on the Holy Land that I’ve had. Keep ’em coming.