The Enchanting White City

Gorgeous Bauhaus balconies overlook the square which is home to concerts with a very European charm. Nearby is a bustling outdoor market. Not far away is Jaffa, where you can hear the moving church music, and no matter where you go, the sea is always just directly across from you, the color of the water changing in the light. Tel Aviv - a portrait of a city that lives and breathes with its residents, 24/7.

Beyond all else, Tel Aviv's got the sea. Sometimes it's a grayish blue, other times a sparkling turquoise, but it's always soothing. That's what the horizon of this city that never sleeps looks like, a city that makes everybody feel as if they've always been here.

Tel Aviv, a city with everything: spiritual and cultural centers along with highly successful companies; current trends along with history that piques your curiosity; blue collar workers dressed in uniforms alongside businesspeople in suits; fast food spots next to exclusive gourmet restaurants; courses promising spiritual enlightenment as well as stores selling the most exclusive brands and a vibrant fashion scene; ultra-Orthodox Jews with sidelocks in traditional garb stand in contrast to a young woman wrapped in a cover-up on the way to the beach; luxurious residential towers right next to Bauhaus-style balconies from the 1930s; fifth-generation Israelis sitting next to Ethiopian Jews who only recently came to Israel and refugees from other continents who found a safe haven here. Tel Aviv is a city that lives and breathes with its residents, 24/7.

 

The churches of Jaffa

Jaffa was first known as the ancient port city that during the crusades was known as a county in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1909, Ahuzat Bayit, which would later become Tel Aviv, was established. In 1949, Jaffa and Tel Aviv merged, and today they are joined by a long promenade.

The free-spirited atmosphere of Tel Aviv is completed by the calls of the muezzin and church singers all located in the Old City of Jaffa and to the south, including St. Peter's Church (Catholic-Franciscan), the remains of a Crusader monastery, from which you can see the bay and Tel Aviv;  St. Anthony's Church (Catholic-Franciscan), Church of St. George (Greek Orthodox), Church of St. Michael (Greek Orthodox), Immanuel Church (Lutheran) and St. Anthony (Maronite).

 

The restored Neve Tsedek quarter
Neve Tsedek

 

The spectacular Bialik Complex

You can trace Tel Aviv-Jaffa's interesting history in the breathtaking Bialik Complex, which was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Here you can find Bialik House, with its impressive archive. The building, once the home of Israel's national poet, Hayim Nahman Bialik, also houses the private library and collection of his manuscripts. Nearby is Beit Ha'ir Museum, located in the old Tel Aviv City Hall building, which overlooks the square. Further down is the Rubin Museum, housed in what used to be the home of the painter, Reuven Rubin. To learn more about the International style of construction that gave Tel Aviv distinction as the White City, visit the adjacent Bauhaus Museum. The special atmosphere is enhanced by concerts held at the Felicja Blumenthal Music Center, which infuse the Complex with a distinct European flavor.

 

Magen David Square

All of this is just a minute walk from the busy intersection of Allenby Street and trendy Sheinkin, with its innumerable clothing stores and cafes along with the bustling King George Street. This is without a doubt one of the city's liveliest spots.

In the main area, known as Magen David Square, which borders on the Carmel Market, you can find Miri Aloni on Friday afternoons singing her greatest hits for passersby.

 

The Carmel Market on Friday

After resting a bit, you can continue to buy what you need for the Sabbath. Visitors to the Carmel Market can touch all types of fresh produce, under the watchful eyes of the stallkeepers who are full of energy and wear thick chain bracelets that call buyers (particularly women) to come, because "It's only here that you'll find the very best." Aside from the seasonal fruits and vegetables with their earthy scents, grains, legumes, baked goods, meat and fish, you can also find shoes and clothing, hats, belts, jewelry that glitters almost like gold, cleaning supplies and original and knock-off cosmetics for attractive prices.

 

Nachlat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall

Now you can check out Nachlat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall which runs parallel. Local artists and designers showcase their work here, offering wooden sculptures, embroidered pillows in an array of colors, wind chimes, dolls made from socks and feathers, unique pieces of jewelry, wallets and purses from recycled products, and all handmade.

 

The museums and Neve Tzedek

And that's only the beginning. Take another few days to visit the major museums: Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which exhibits important permanent collections and changing exhibitions; Eretz Israel Museum, which focuses on the history and culture of Israel, and Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People. And there are smaller ones as well: Ben-Gurion House, The Ben-Gurion Bible Museum, Hagana Museum, Etzel Museum, Jabotinsky Institute. Don't forget to carve out some time to get a feel for Neve Zedek. There, inside the historic Beit Hasofrim, is the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art.

 

Entertainment spots and the Templars

Tel Aviv, a great city to walk around, both during the day and at night, is home to acclaimed chef restaurants, small and stylish cafes, theaters and movie theaters, big malls, clubs where those who like the good life can dance the night away, ever-changing festivals and markets in the port area, a fantastic promenade, open exercise classes on the beach in the summer, boulevards with kiosks, romantic benches and bicycle lanes, as well as a highly unique area that offers a mix of entertainment, culture and art: trendy shopping, exceptional architecture, impressive culinary options and guided tours, all with shade from ancient trees and in the city center. This is what the historic area ofSarona, built by the Templars in 1871, is all about. The members of the movement, who came to the Holy Land from Germany, because they believed that redemption would only come if they did, built a fabulous agricultural settlement here with incredibly beautiful buildings.