Romantic Tel Aviv, by Yael



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Neve tzedek ("Oasis of Justice") located south of the Yemenite Quarter, was the first Jewish neighborhood built outside of Jaffa, founded in 1883 by the Chelouche family and officially established in 1887. This once slummy area is now a highly charming, character-filled area that is filled with restaurants, boutiques and cafés that offer top-end food, fashion, jewelry, ceramics and more. Neve Tzedek is a cultural and culinary delight that is found next to the southern Tel aviv beach.
Famous Israeli figures such as Nobel Prize Laureate, Sha"I Agnon, writer Haim Brenner and artist Nahum Gutman resided in the early Neve Tzedek before it started to disintegrate due to neglect. In the eighties, the neighborhood began to re-awaken, setting the stage for the stylish, yuppie, much-desired residence that is has become.
Neve Tzedek is home to the Suzanne Dellal Center (6 Yehieli St.), established by the Dellal family as a center for Israeli dance, made famous by the BatSheva Dance Company and BatSheva Ensemble. It was largely due to the Dellal family's bold move that Neve Tzedek was re-born in the eighties. Today, one of the most important theatrical and cultural centers in Israel, it is worth checking if there will be performances on when you visit: http://www.suzannedellal.org.il
The Rokach house, located at 36 Simon Rokach St., is famously one of the first houses in Neve Tzedek and was restored in the late eighties by Lea Majaro Mintz, none other than the granddaughter of the original owner.
If one is interested in viewing the very first house built in Neve Tzedek, one can visit the Chelouche House which was built by the very man who founded the neighbourhood in 1887, Aharon Chelouche. Since 2003, the residence is an art gallery that displays temporary exhibitions. One can stand on the roof of the nineteenth-century feel house for a stunning view of the neighbourhood. The house is situated on 32 Shlush St. and is open Monday through Wednesday from 10:00 AM 'til 5:00 PM, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10:00 AM 'til 8:00 PM and Fridays from 10:00 AM 'til 2:00 PM.
The Nahum Gutman Museum is located on Rochach St. and displays the works of the Tel Avivian artist, Nahum Gutman, who successfully captured the spirit and essence of early Tel Aviv. His works take one back on a magical journey and allow one a glimpse into the old world.
If all the sight-seeing makes one peckish, there is an abundance of eateries in the area; the Suzanna Cafe, with its lovely terrace, is located close to the Suzanne Dellal Center, the Michelle bar offers breakfast menus early on in the day and there is frequently live entertainment in the evenings, the vegetarian Nina cafe is a delightful organic culinary experience and Bellini offers Italian cuisine with beautiful views.
Neve Tzedek is a mere two minutes from the luxurious Dan Panorama and David Intercontinental hotels making it an ideal start to a day for those staying there. Alternatively, buses 44 and 46 get one directly there. Bus 25 takes one to Monifiori St., a ten minute walk from Neve Tzedek and Bus 4 gets to the intersection of Allenby and Echad Ha'Am, from where one can also walk to Neve Tzedek.
 




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A popular tourist location, the Old jaffa Port was once the place where Jewish immigrants passed through when resettling the land before the establishment of the State. Today, the port is a delightful, buzzing location that is home to artist studios, boutiques, art galleries, Judaica stores and restaurants, which all line the narrow alley-ways of the Old Jaffa Port which are quirkily named after Zodiac signs. Local fishermen continue the centuries-old tradition as they frequent the Old Jaffa Port to this day.
Archaeological evidence proves that Jaffa has served as a port city for a few thousand years. In fact, it is believed by historians that Jaffa port, located south of Tel aviv, is the only port in the entire world that has been inhabited in an uninterrupted fashion from the moment it existed. The Bible relates that Lebanese cedars were brought into the Holy Land via Jaffa in the time of King Solomon for the purpose of building the first Temple. Additionally, when Jonah famously fled from before G-d, he did so from none other than the Jaffa port.
The Old Jaffa Port is home to a marina and visitors can set sail in the footsteps of many hundreds before them. There are daily trips to view the stunning Tel Aviv-Jaffa horizon from the sea. Additionally, one can climb from the port to the top of the Old Jaffa Hill where one can find the Franciscan Church of St. Peter, where it is claimed that Napoleon stayed after the city was captured.
 




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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.
 




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Tayelet is Hebrew for "promenade" and the Tel aviv Tayelet runs for two kilometers all the way from Jaffa in the south to Hatzok Beach in the north. The walkway is designed in a unique fluid, swirly design that is visible from planes that come in to land at Ben Gurion Airport and is situated on the corner of Herbert Samuel Boulevard in Tel Aviv, by the Yarkon River.
The Tayelet is often busy at all times of day, from early-morning runners to late-night revelers in peak summer season. Weekends and summer days see buskers, portrait artists and jewelry sellers trying to persuade passer-bys to part with their shekels. In the summer, street performances are common, adding a magical touch to the site. The view of the sea is enchanting at all times of the year and people from all walks of life can be found marveling at it's beauty throughout the day.
For the bikers among us, the Tayelet provides a perfect opportunity to avoid the fumes of the city and to take in the lovely view that sets the scene for the journey from one end of the city to the other.




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Park HaYarkon is the unofficial yet universal name for Ganei Yehoshua (Yehoshua Gardens) which was named after Yehoshua Rabinovitch, Tel aviv's mayor between 1969 and 1974. Park HaYarkon is so-called due to the Yarkon River (the longest coastal waterway in Israel) that runs through the park. Park HaYarkon is an urban park that is located in Tel Aviv that is visited by approximately sixteen million people annually. Rokach Boulevard can be found on the northern side and Bavli on the south.
Park HaYarkon is often fondly referred to as the "Central Park" of Tel Aviv. In the busy metropolitan city of Tel Aviv, the park offers a kind of retreat for local residents and visitors. The park is filled with people exercising, playing and spending quality time together in natural surroundings. Weekends see the park buzzing with visitors as, seemingly, all of Israel gravitate towards the green oasis that is Park HaYarkon.

There are a great  number of activities on  offer in Park HaYarkon:
• There is a miniature golf course at the north bank of the Yarkon River that provides wholesome family fun
• In the large sports centre (called Sportec) in the western side of the park, there are basketball and rollerblade courts, football fields and even a wall climbing facility that provides all the equipment needed (50 NIS a climb)
• The eastern side of the park has many open spaces and activity areas that are suitable for the entire family, such as picnic areas, pony riding, a bird park (entrance fee 47 NIS), a tropical garden, pedal boat rental (70NIS per hour) , kayak and small motor boat rentals (150 NIS per hour)and bike rental.
• The Rock Garden in Park HaYarkon is one of the largest of its kind in the world and is an astonishing reflection of the geological diversity in Israel.
• Annual events take place in the park, such as the City Taste Festival and performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Israeli Opera.
• Search for animal life alongside the Yarkon River- despite being famously polluted, there are an abundance of insects and animals living in the area.
If you're looking for a relaxed, enjoyable day out in Tel Aviv and are craving some greenery, be sure to head down to Park HaYarkon.




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The bistro Raphael is a firm favorite of both tourists and locals, with it's French-Israeli blended menu, enjoyed while taking in the splendid view of the Mediterranean from the restaurant's large windows. Rafi Cohen is the legendary chef who runs Raphael and his dishes are famous for being generous, well-presented and reasonably-priced. Moroccan cuisine is a definite influence in the foods that are successful fusions of different cooking methods.
The fantastic menu has been known to change once in a while but old-favorites usually stay put, the wine selection is substantial and the desserts are heavenly. The popularity of Raphael means that it is worthwhile booking in advance because by 21:00 the place is usually very busy. The next-door Hamara bar offers smaller portions of the same delicious food so if you're looking for a different experience it may be worth checking it out.
 




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A common complaint among visitors and citizens in Israel is that quality Japanese cuisine simply can't be found in this little country. Incorrect. Onami is, without a doubt, the top Japanese restaurant, not only in Tel aviv, but in the whole country. Lovers of Japanese cuisine, you must check this restaurant out. And for those who don't place Japanese cuisine at the top of their "favorites" list- check this place out, your list might just change…
The menu is hugely varied and very imaginative with a variety of Japanese dishes that most people will never have heard of. At the centre of the restaurant is a large bar where the chefs artfully prepare the dishes. For those with no prior knowledge in Japanese cuisine, take a risk and allow the waiters/waitresses to recommend dishes- they do it well and you are bound to be pleasantly surprised. Prices, as with all top Japanese cuisine are not on the moderate side of the scale but it is worth the splurge.
 




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Dallal is a bistro-inspired restaurant that is situated on the ruins of three beautifully restored buildings, within walking distance of the Suzanne Dallal Centre in Neve tzedek. The lovely view of the Neve Tzedek neighborhood and the conserved buildings in the area create a special atmosphere that almost takes one back in time to the beginning of Tel aviv when Neve Tzedek was one of the first neighborhoods.
The use of local produce is a given in Dallal and the Chef Golan Garfunkel infuses the dishes with Mediterranean accents. The restaurant itself consists of an outdoor yard, foyer, internal courtyard and hosting area. The food is a fusion of French and Israeli cuisine. In addition to the restaurant, there is a bakery and coffee shop that serve some excellent French pastries and is the perfect place for breakfast.
 




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The Ilana Goor Museum is located in a building in the city of Jaffa that, 250 years ago, served as a hostel for Jewish pilgrims who were on their way to Jerusalem. The world-renowned artist, Ilana Goor, took it upon herself to restore this magnificent building to it's former beauty, preserving the beauty of the architecture of the building's era and simultaneously injecting the place with the vibrancy of the modern art that has gained her world-wide fame.
Ilana Goor was born in Tiberias, Israel to a family of doctors, many of whom were artists. She never studied art formally, developing her style along with her technique and resulting in powerful, emotion-filled works. Ilana has statues that are displayed in public places all around Israel as well as in private collections. She has presented exhibitions world-wide, currently has her work displayed in sixteen designer showrooms in the United States and sells her jewelry, clothing and furniture collections all over the world.
The museum presents a wide selection of Ilana's works as well as those of other Israeli and international  artists. The museum is the embodiment of everything that Ilana believes in- the fusion of old with new, the combination of rural and industrial, the mixing of organic an geometrical; all effortlessly and in perfect unification.
The Ilana Goor Museum has an usually homey feeling about it and when one learns that the Museum is, in fact, part of Ilana Goor's house, this comes as no surprise. The stunning art pieces; sculptures, jewelry, furniture, paintings and more, are thoughtfully placed around the magnificent building and the incredible view of the sea, visible through every window, simply adds to the invigorating breath of fresh-air that is the Ilana Goor Museum.
There is a rooftop café on the premises with a breath-taking view of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as a gift shop.
 




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Tel aviv, the busy metropolis in the center of Israel, was named as a World Cultural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2003 thanks to the four-thousand plus Bauhaus-style buildings that grace the White City zone of Tel Aviv, known as such due to the predominantly white and pastel-colored buildings along, in the main, Rothschild Boulevard, Dizengoff Circle and Bialik Street. UNESCO noted that the White City presents a wonderful example of town planning and architecture in the early twentieth century as modern architectural trends that originate from around the world are successfully adapted and integrated into the traditions of the city.
In the 1920s, the rapidly-changing city was lacking, decided city officials, a collective architectural style. A large number of architect graduates immigrated in the thirties to Tel Aviv and brought with them the Modernist style of architecture that they had learnt in Germany. The international style was known for it's asymmetric lines, minimalist approach and lack of useless decorations. Interior design is simple and functional.  Perhaps more than anything, the ever-present balconies set Tel Aviv apart from other cities, creating a sense of community as socializing is simply a matter of peering across to one's neighbors' balcony.
For the visitor to Tel Aviv who wishes to visit one of the notable 830 sites on UNESCO's famous list that are said to be invaluable to human culture as a whole, be sure to make your way to the White City zone of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv's first boulevard, Rothschild Boulevard, has a large number and variety of intriguing buildings. The street is a literal piece of architectural art and provides the chance for visitors to savor the unique fusion of old and new that makes Tel Aviv the exciting place it is.
 



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