Tel Aviv! The name means hills of spring when translated from Hebrew. It is perfectly named because its purpose was to give hope to the returning exiled Jewish people. The city was founded in 1909 and thus it is one of the youngest capitals in the world. This modern metropolis was nothing more than vast sand dunes one hundred years ago. Tel Aviv was founded by a group of 66 Jewish families who lived in Jaffa.
A society was established and land to the north was purchased to build a new city as an alternative, fully Jewish town. Originally, it was called Ahuzat Bait (homestead) but later renamed Tel Aviv.
Meir Dizengoff was the first mayor of the city from 1911 until his death in 1936 and one of Tel Aviv’s main streets is named in his honor. He built his own home in the city which later became the historical birthplace of the State of Israel.
On May 14, 1948, the Independence Declaration was proclaimed by the first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion. Thus, Tel Aviv became the first capital of Israel until 1950 when the government seat moved to Jerusalem. The same year, Jaffa and Tel Aviv became a united municipality which became officially known as Tel Aviv–Yafo.
During the 1920s to 1930s, Tel Aviv began to emerge as the culture center of the area due to repatriation from Europe of many Jewish intellectuals, writers, artists and musicians fleeing persecution of the Nazi regime. The population of the city soared to 130,000, the largest in Palestine.
Literature enjoyed prominence due to the writings of national poet Chaim Nahman Bialik and Shmuel Yosef Agnon who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966.
Bronislaw Huberman was a Jewish violinist born in Poland who founded the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra in 1936.
International recognition was given to painters and sculptors such as Rubin, Ticho, Janco, Danziger, Orloff and others. There are multiple museums in Tel Aviv, including the renowned Museum of Art which is one of the finest modern art museums in the world. Overall, Israel has more museums per capita than any other country in the world.
Talented immigrants also changed the skyline of the growing city. The German Jewish architects introduced International or Bauhaus Style which is distinguished by the minimalist asymmetrical appearance of the white façade. Aviv’s collection of more than 4000 Bauhaus buildings is the largest in the world and was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Today, Tel Aviv does not resemble the small settlement which it was a hundred years ago. Now it is a prosperous metropolis with a flourishing technological sector with more than 1500 start up companies in Tel Aviv alone, including Waze and Mobileye. No wonder Israel is known as the “Startup Nation”!
According to Trip Advisor, Tel Aviv was ranked third most popular destination in the Middle East. With 14km of sandy beaches, diverse population, local attractions and celebrated nightlife, it is not surprising there are 2.5 million tourists visiting every year. Be sure to put Tel Aviv on your list of must-see destinations!
Welcome to Israel!