It is certainly no coincidence that the Hebrew name for Jaffa- "Yafo"- is said to originate from the Hebrew word "yofi" meaning beauty. The charming Old jaffa, situated south-west of the city of Jaffa, remains one of the few places that is relatively untouched; preserving the ancient beauty that makes Old Jaffa the unique location that it is. Old Jaffa boasts one of the oldest ports in the world, a variety of restaurants, a flea market and a simply unique experience.
Jaffa was the city that Jewish immigrants flocked through before the State was established and shortly after Israel was re-born in 1948, poverty-stricken Jewish families settled the city. In the sixties, the Israeli government took steps to develop Old Jaffa and to try and restore and honor the once-glorious city. Since then, Old Jaffa has been a popular tourist attraction, with people arriving to soak up the rugged beauty that it offers.
A selection of the delights that Old Jaffa has to offer:
•The legendary 24-hour Abulafia bakery that is located on the main street of Jaffa, Yeffeth Street and has been around, with good reason, since 1879. The Abulafia bakery produces mouth-watering delights that are created by Muslims, Christians and Jews, who work side-by-side in a hopeful picture of co-existence.
•The Clock Square was built in the Ottoman period in honor of Sultan Abed al-Hamid II's twenty-fifth anniversary and is the center-point of Jaffa, surrounded by markets.
•The Libyan Synagogue, known as Beit Zunana, purchased by Zunana in the eighteenth century, metamorphosed from Synagogue to hostel to soap factory. With the establishment of the State in 1948, once again became a Synagogue for Libyan immigrants and in 1995 became a museum.
•Jaffa's Hill is a center for archaeological excavations of ancient cities with the oldest being the restored ancient Egyptian gates that are dated at a fantastic 3,500 years!
•Abu-Hasan offers authentic Arab Hummus which is served fresh from the morning, which according to Arab tradition is the best time to eat it. Hummus is a staple in Israel and it must be said that if you are not used to the chickpea concoction, it may be best eaten as a mid-day lunch as opposed to a morning meal!
•The famous Flea Market is open every day with Friday being the busiest day by far. It is a lovely place to wander through on late mornings in the week or if you are looking for the more authentic, hectic experience when the stock is displayed in the street then Fridays is the day for you.
•The Old Jaffa Port is an ancient, yet very much active port that is home to a variety of stores, art galleries, restaurants and marina. Day trips that allow you to take in the stunning Tel aviv-Jaffa horizon from the sea set sail from the marina.