Tel Aviv, often called “the city that never stops,” was the first modern Jewish city built in Israel, and is the country’s economic and cultural center. It is a lively, active city with entertainment, culture and art, festivals, and a rich night life.
Tel Aviv began its history in Jaffa (Yafo) - the ancient 3,000-year-old adjoining city that lies to its southwest. The current Old City of Jaffa was built during the Ottoman Empire and its stone houses and narrow alleyways now house the picturesque artists’ quarter and tourist center.
Among the main attractions of Old Jaffa are Gan HaPisga - the Summit Garden with its restaurants, galleries, shops with Judaica, and unique atmosphere, the seaside promenade and walls of the old city, the visitors’ center in the old courtyard, and the fishing port.
In 1909 sixty-six Jewish families who resided in Jaffa established the first neighborhood of what would later become the city of Tel Aviv. The neighborhood, called “Akhuzat Bayit” (homestead) was originally within Jaffa. In 1910 it was renamed Tel Aviv, and the neighborhood began to expand. Other new neighborhoods were added until it eventually became the center of the Yishuv – the Jewish settlement in Palestine at the time. It was in Tel Aviv, on May 14 1948, that David Ben Gurion declared the independence of the State of Israel.
Tel Aviv is Israel’s center for culture and entertainment. The city has more than 20 museums, the most important of which are the Land of Israel (HaAretz) Museum and the Tel Aviv Art Museum. Other Tel Aviv museums include the Museum of the Diaspora, the Israel Defense Forces History Museum, the Etzel Museum, the Haganah Museum, the Palmach Museum, The Lekhi Museum, and the Nachum Guttman Museum.
The city hosts the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israeli Opera Company, as well as most of the national dance and theater companies.
Tel Aviv is also the national center for night life and entertainment and is filled with night clubs featuring music of all types, dancing, restaurants, pubs, coffee houses, discotheques, movie theaters, auditoriums, and concert halls.
Vacationers in Tel Aviv can lodge at any of the dozens of hotels, boarding houses, and youth hostels scattered throughout the city. These offer every type of accommodation ranging from luxurious rooms to simple, pleasant lodging.
Tel Aviv is also a business and trade center. There are colorful and bustling markets such as the flea market in Jaffa, the Carmel market, the HaTikva Market, and Levinsky market. There are also modern shopping malls such as Dizengoff Center and Azrieli Center, and important business centers for high-tech companies, realtors, and the stock market. All these have made Tel Aviv the business capital of Israel and an international center for conventions, exhibitions, and conferences.