Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv view by CC user upyernoz on Flickr

Introduction

If Jerusalem is Israel’s window into its past, then Tel Aviv is certainly a window into its future, as this nation’s second largest city is a sea of dynamic skyscrapers that serve as evidence to its prominence in the financial sector.  Adding to its appeal is its location on the east shore of the delightfully warm Mediterranean Sea, which is a feature that draws in the sun worshipers and party-loving young people, making Tel Aviv one of the hottest nightlife destinations in the Middle East.

The original residents first put up walls 4,000 years ago and lived at the foot of a small cove on the gulf of Jaffa, seemingly keeping this place’s secret until the 19th century, when the population spiked so fast that the settlement needed to spread outside the walls and hence, they were destroyed.

The name Tel Aviv came about from wealthy landowners who envisioned a modern European style suburb outside the old town.  Today’s Tel Aviv has certainly taken the modern and wealth balls and have ran with them, as this metropolises’ 24 hour lifestyle and beautiful glass and concrete structures will remind you during your visit here!

Old Jaffa by CC user jamescridland on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

Before you get too wrapped up in the modern delights of Tel Aviv, take a trip back into the cities’ past by venturing to Old Jaffa, parts of which have been around for thousands of years. St. Peter’s Church is a great place to start your wanderings, as it was built on the remains of a Crusader fort, and at one time, a hostel built within its walls once hosted Napoleon Bonaparte when he was visiting the area. In general though, the appeal of this place comes from simply walking its narrow alleys between exquisitely constructed buildings, as you can almost feel the eons of history radiating from the structures of this place.

A much more sombre outing will be had when you visit the Yitzhak Rabin Center, a centre constructed to honour the history and democracy of Israel, in addition to the life of a man who had his ended in the most brutal fashion possible. In 1995, an armed assailant rushed the former Israeli prime minister as he was greeting citizens, shooting him at point blank range.

During his tenure, he was famous for spearheading a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians that had made unprecedented progress compared to previous efforts, and this center reflects his commitment to a society ruled by love, not fear.

Throughout the world, Jewish communities can be found in the most curious of places.  Due to turmoil at varying points in its history, Israel has inadvertently planted its citizens to all corners of the globe through a phenomenon known as the Jewish Dispora.  The Beit Hatfutsot Museum documents this trend throughout history, as it goes all the way back to the Jewish Expulsion 2,600 years ago, and proceeds through the ages to the present day.  All the phases of time have a theme, making this museum a surreal experience.

Nightlife in Tel Aviv by CC user shankbone on Flickr

Other Attractions

While Tel Aviv may lack in the religious sites that makes this nation famous on the world stage, it does have an aspect of culture that has been deemed worthy of UNESCO World Heritage recognition.  This metropolis has a large collection of Bauhaus architecture, which is a German style that was hot in the 1920’s, a time when growth in Tel Aviv was robust.

There are guided tours available that will take you between these wavy yet modernist constructions, and a museum known as the Bauhaus Center details the tenets of this architectural style, as well as hosting other arts exhibitions in addition to its primary function.

There are many beaches along Tel Aviv’s inviting seascape, but the one you should make great pains to visit is Metzitzim Beach. Named after a cult film that featured this relaxing place , it is a popular place for the young and beautiful, hipsters, and the cities’ flamboyant LGBT community.  Even if you just come here to cool off, your time here will be anything but boring!

As the sun begins to sink into the western horizon, it’s time to experience Tel Aviv’s notorious nightlife. The city is so well known for partying that it’s hard at times to go beyond a stone’s throw from a bar, pub or club, and traffic in the weekend evenings gets horrendous as people from surrounding areas flood in to have some fun on their time off from work.

The selection of alcohol is mind blowing, as the pan-global selection of spirits in many bars here will bewilder you.  Those looking for something hip and a more mature crowd should strike up a search on Dizengoff Street, while those fresh out of secondary school on their gap year adventure will have better luck getting in a bar on Allenby Street.

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