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Old Jaffa
Old Jaffa
#About the City of Jaffa and its History

Jaffa is one of the oldest cities in the world, and especially in the Middle East. It is referenced in many places, from Papyrus in Egypt, to Greek Mythology, in Jewish texts like the book of Jonah and in Christianity as well. There are not many cities in the world that were conquered, destroyed, and rebuilt, quiet like Jaffa.

Today it is known as the south pearl of Tel Aviv. It has a lot of offer, starting from the ancient Jaffa ruins, to the Jaffa port with its fisherman and restaurants and popular shopping in the most famous flea market in Israel. There is no place like Jaffa at night, so says a famous song, and it is great to wander around during the day too, or to sit for a seafood meal in the Middle Eastern sunset, or visiting the ancient homes.

Jaffa's establishment is attributed to Yefet, the son of Noah. Ancient documents and excavations have taught the researchers that Jaffa served as a port city four thousand years ago. It then served the Phoenician and Egyptian sailors in their sea voyages. Even after that Jaffa did not stop being a central and important port city. It was inhabited by so many peoples, from the Phoenicians, through the Romans, the Mamelukes in the Baybars era, through Napoleon who brutally massacred its inhabitants and the Ottomans, headed by Muhammad Abu Nabbut. They built the old Jaffa you see around and the clock tower and paved Jerusalem Boulevard at the beginning of the 20th century.

The origin of the name "Jaffa" is from the Sidonian language, which means beautiful.

The port of Jaffa was the gateway to many of the immigrants to the State of Israel. In 1965 it ceased to function as a commercial port and became a fishing port and marina for boats and yachts, becoming the picturesque port of today, with the restaurants and cafés and the breeze from the sea.

A Closer Look:


A View From Above:

#About the Neighborhood that Made it to the Oscars

Ajami is a Jaffa neighborhood, many know its name from the Israeli movie "Ajami" filmed in 2009. Quite a few of the actors did not learn acting, but are in fact residents of the neighborhood, who reliably played its story. The film was nominated for an Oscar in the foreign film category.

The Ajami neighborhood, originally a neighborhood of well-to-do Christian Arabs, is an old neighborhood in Jaffa, crammed with houses, a large part of which is of old houses built during the Ottoman period. After the establishment of the State of Israel, it was an Arab neighborhood, Arabs and Jews live there. In most of the newer, more prestigious homes, people have moved to the neighborhood in recent decades, most of them Jews and foreigners.

The main street of the Ajami neighborhood, which runs from north to south, is Yefet Street. This street is full of shops and many popular restaurants.

The neighborhood was founded in the second half of the 19th century by Arab Christians, members of the Maronite community, south of the Jaffa walls. On the map drawn by the Templar engineer and the German colony of Jaffa Theodor Sandal in 1878/79, Ajami appears. Interestingly, the neighborhood's name is not Christian, but named after Ibrahim al-Ajami. According to the Muslim tradition Ibrahim al-Ajami was part of the group of the Prophet Muhammad and his grave is located in southern Jaffa, where today there is the Al-Ajami mosque, also named after him.

Trailer for the film "Ajami":


A Scene From the Film, Filmed in the Neighborhood Telling a Story That Takes Place There:

Andromeda Rock
Andromeda Rock
#About the Rock Which the Beautiful Andromeda is Associated With

From where you stand, please look at the sea, heading northwest. A few hundred meters from the beach, you can see in the sea a small group of rocks, known as Andromeda Rock.

Here, according to legend, Andromeda was tied to the rocks, as a sacrifice of the people of Jaffa, to appease the sea monster, so that the monster could devour her. And here came the miracle in which the hero Perseus saved Andromeda, a moment before the monster rose from the sea to devour her. Perseus took Andromeda on his flying horse and they married and lived happily ever since.

#Who was Andromeda?

Andromeda was the daughter of the beautiful Cassiopeia, queen of Euphoria, Jaffa. But Cassiopeia was also quite arrogant and she boasted of her beauty and even said she was prettier than the sea... The gossip quickly reached Poseidon, God of the sea, and he sent in revenge a horrible monster to punish the people of Yupia, Jaffa.

The King and Queen of Euphoria were appalled by the trouble and learned that the only way to calm and get rid of the monster's punishment was to sacrifice their own daughter Andromeda. They tied her to a rock in the sea, not far from the beach and waited.

But then, as in fairy tales, the hero Perseus arrived. Although without a horse, horses do not swim so well, Perseus fell in love with Andromeda immediately. He stalked the monster and turned it, as he sometimes did, to stone. Then he took Andromeda riding the flying horse Pegasus and married her and since then they live happily ever after ...

If you walk once in the port of Jaffa, you can see the rock that tradition says is "Andromeda Rock" in the sea, not far from shore.
Kedumim Square
Kedumim Square
#About the Main Square in Old Jaffa

Kedumim Square today is the main square of Old Jaffa. This square has restaurants and cafes and during the summer it serves as a venue for small shows open to the public. From there you can descend to the alleys of Old Jaffa, towards the harbor. Just below the square you can visit the history museum of Jaffa.

If you descend from the square a little to the east, you can look out to the sea to the west and see the rocks known as the Andromeda Rock in the sea, a few hundred meters from the beach.

Here, according to legend, Andromeda was tied to the rocks, as a sacrifice of the people of Jaffa, to appease the sea monster, so that the monster could devour her. And here came the miracle in which the hero Perseus saved Andromeda, a moment before the monster rose from the sea to devour her. Perseus took Andromeda on his flying horse and they married and lived happily ever since.

On the north-west side of the square you can see St. Peter's Church, the main Franciscan church of Jaffa. This church is seen when you look at Jaffa from the shores of Tel Aviv and even appeared in the past with the symbol of the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

A Closer Look:


Old Jaffa

Jaffa Hill
Jaffa Hill
#About Jaffa's Ancient Hill

Every time it is said that Jaffa is one of the oldest cities in the world, they mean that the oldest ruins were found in archeological digs on the Jaffa hill. This is where the most ancient ruins in all of Jaffa were found. There are ruins dating back to more than 4,000 years. On the southern side of the hill you can see excavations where interesting things were found, like the gates to an Egyptian city from 3,500 years ago. Jaffa was born from this hill.

This hill was a strategic location, good for the protection and construction of fortresses. Its great advantage is that it overlooks the sea and provides a good view for all sides. The remains of a settlement from the end of the 17th century BCE were discovered in an area that is now located in the "Ramses Gate Garden." Some two hundred years later, the great conqueror and founder of the Egyptian empire, Pharaoh Thutmose III, conquered it. According to an ancient papyrus, here one of Thutmose III's army ministers, Tzchuti, preceded the Greeks with the Trojan horse trick. He hid armed soldiers in baskets and gave the baskets to the governors of the Old City, the soldiers burst out of the baskets and conquered the city.

If you go up a little bit to the top of the hill, you will reach the top of Jaffa Hill. From there you will see a fascinating view of Tel Aviv as a whole and the Tel Aviv-Herzliya coastline and on days with especially good visibility Hadera can even be seen.

A Closer Look:

HaSha'on Square
Clock Tower Square
#About the Square with the Clock Built by the Turkish

The Clock Tower Square (HaSha'on Square) is one of the main and known areas of Jaffa, from its days as a Turkish stronghold. Of course its name originated from the clock tower itself. The tower is built from sandstone. It is one of about 1,000 clock towers but in the 20th century by the Ottoman Empire. Originally the tower was built in 1906 by Turkish Ottomans that controlled Israel, for the 25th anniversary of the Turkish Sultan Abdul-Hamid's crowning.

At the top of the tower there used to be four clocks, two of which showed the time in Europe. If you look carefully you can see that the first two floors have round edges. These are the original foundations for the tower. Only in 1911 another floor was added, and you can see the difference by its square edges. When the clock was moved to the top floor, a greenish copper plate was added to the clock's original location.

At the tower windows you can see a combination of metal decorations, that describe the history of Jaffa.

#Around the Square

If you turn your head towards the west, to the sea, you will see what is called in Turkish a "Kishla." This is where the Turkish police station and prison was in Jaffa. The British also used this place as a police station, and this is where Jewish underground fighters from the Irgun and Lehi were imprisoned. Until a few years ago it was an active police station in the State of Israel. In 1971, the most popular Israeli film, "The Policeman Azulai," was filmed here, starring Shaya Ophir with his shining performance.

On the other side, towards the East, you can see old looking columns. These are not Roman ruins, during the Ottoman Empire this was the Turkish Saray - the Turkish mayor's house. Later the Jaffa municipality was also located here. During the War of Independence, on January 4, 1948, the Lehi militant group bombed it. A truck parked across from the building exploded and destroyed the building, expect the columns you see today.

If you go 50 meters away from the clock tower, towards the south, you will reach the Abulafia Bakey, a well-known establishment selling Middle Easter baked goods and all delicious.

A Closer Look:


Tour the Clock tower:

Fountain Zodiac Signs
Fountain Zodiac Signs
#About the Fountain that Was Built on a Wishing Well

Not only Rome can boast with impressive fountains, Tel Aviv also has a Fontana di Trevi and it is right here. Because in the Fountain Zodiac Signs, located in Kedumim Square in Jaffa, all the signs are sculpted with limestone, combined with water and lighting effects.

The fountain was sculpted in 2011 by Varda Givoli and Ilan Gelber. You will be interested to know that artifacts from the Ottoman period discovered beneath the fountain prove that here was exactly a well of wishes, to which they used to throw coins.

If you thought that the zodiac signs in Jaffa ended here, you were wrong. The names of the streets of Old Jaffa and the Bridge of Wishes that connects Tel Aviv with Kedumim Square are connected to the various zodiac signs.

A Closer Look:


A Visit:
HaSeraya House
Saraya House
#About the Turkish and British Governmental House

The "Saraya House" (HaSeraya House) in the Clock Tower
Square in Jaffa, was used during the Ottoman Empire rule over Israel. It replaced the Saraya House that was located in ancient Jaffa. Here the institutions of the municipal administration and the Turkish-Ottoman government were located. The building was opened towards the end of the 19th century, in 1897, and it was built using donations from rich Jaffians. In charge of its design was Jewish architect Baruch Pepiermiester, from Rishon Letzion's farmers, and who would later become head of the settlement committee.

During the War of Independence, on January 4th 1948, Lehi combatants bombed the Saraya House, they were the most extreme militant group in Israel. It was a rainy day and the streets were empty. Two Lehi combatants arrived at the square by truck, which they parked across from the Saraya House, even though the guard was yelling for them not to park there, the two promised to be right back as they lit a 80 second switch, and hurried away from the spot. When they were a few blocks away at Jerusalem Boulevard, they heard the massive bomb, which destroyed the building, killing 10 of its residents and injuring over 100 people.

The truth is that Tel Avivians had some issues with this house. Though during the British Mandate it was a mere administrative building, it was also used as the headquarters for Jaffa Arabs. Though the headquarter started for political leaders, during the war the Arab National Committe of Jaffa settled in the building. Thus the building served more and more as the headquarters for the Arab forces of Jaffa, from which shooting activities were directed to the city of Tel Aviv. An explosion during the war was a matter of time ...

Today, only remnants of the Saraya House remain, reconstructed and restored, and became a silent symbol of the terror imposed upon the Arabs of Jaffa at the time, following the attack on such an important governmental symbol.

Jaffa Bridge of Wishes
Bridge of Wishes
#About the Bridge that Makes Wishes Come True

The Bridge of Wishes on the Jaffa hill, is a wooden bridge that connects the summit garden and Kedumim Square.

Before the entrance to the bridge you will the 12 signs of the zodiac on a mosiac. Pretty right? - The mosiac was created by Varda Gvioli, Ilan Gelber and Nabot Gil.

When you ascend the bridge, notice the bronze statues of all the 12 zodiac signs along the railing. A local legend says that if you describe your sign on the bridge, hold the statues and look towards the sea while you think about youy wish - your wish will really come true! Try it!

The zodiac statues along the bridge were sculpted by Ester Shlomo and Freddy Pavian. The artistic lightings were design by Michal Margalit.

A Closer Look:

Ramses II's Gate Garden
#About the Garden that is the Core of Jaffa

Ramses II's Gate Garden, the ruins in front of you, are the oldest ruins in Jaffa. They are located in an archeological dig that was excavated in the 1950's, with many findings throughout history being discovered.

In the archeological dig there are ruins of residents from more than 4,000 years ago. These are remains of a moat, a wall that surrounded the hill from the 18th century BC, during the second Bronze Age. The buildings were originally built of soil blocks that were built on the foundation of fieldstones.

These remains, like others around the region of Canaan, that Jaffa, already back in the day, was under occupation and rule from Egypt.

Digs on the southern side of the hill are archeological digs of remains from an Egyptian city during a later period, more than 3,500 years ago. From this settlement the city of Jaffa was built, and eventually reached the Jaffa we see today.

"Ramses Gate" that you see in front of you, was recreated and built above the stone wall. It exemplified how the gate used to look on the Egyptian fortress that used to be here, more or less more than 3,300 years ago.

The original remains of the gate, by the way, are placed at the Jaffa History Museum. The gate's name was given to it after inscriptions of three of the five names of Ramses were found on it, alongside a series of honorary titles for the king and ruler.

A Look at the Replica Made in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem:

Mahmoudiya Mosque
#About Jaffa's Most Important Mosque

The center of Jaffa's religious life has always been Jaffa's largest and most important mosque, the Al-Mahmoudiya Mosque. It was named after Muhammad Abu Nabbut, the ruler of Jaffa at the beginning of the 19th century and the one who rehabilitated it. The same Abu Nabbut was nicknamed for the big club he used to carry around the hurt the inhabitants of Jaffa.

The mosque was built in 1730, and rebuilt in 1814 as the Mahmoudiya Mosque. On the outer wall of the mosque you can see Sebil Suleiman, this is a "rahat" in Arabic "sebil", a facility used as a water fountain for passersby and camel convoys that passed through Jaffa. The rahat is no longer as beautiful as it used to be, but it is impressive in size and you can be see the inscription dedicated to its founders.

Go to the front door of the mosque, right under the turret. On the door is a dedication in Arabic to the Turkish Sultan, written during the construction of the mosque. Try to enter the mosque, if possible. You will see inside its beautiful inner courtyard, the chapels around it and the mehrab set on its southern side. Mehrab is an alcove in the wall of the mosque that points to the Qibla, the direction of the Ka'aba, the holy building of the Muslims, located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where Muslims face when praying.

A Closer Look:

Suspended Orange Tree
#Abut the Hanging Tree in Old Jaffa

The Suspended Orange Tree is a surprising art piece that can be found in the Old Jaffa alleyways. This is no gimmick- the orange tree grows from inside the big hanging ceramic vase, suspended by a chain in the alleyways of Old Jaffa, to the adjacent houses.

The hanging tree is located in the Lion alleyway, on the corner of Hazorfim alley. This is a work of art by artist Ran Morin, who created the statue in 1993. Morin is a born and raised Jerusalem sculpture, alumni of the School of Visual Arts in New York. He is an artist that worked a lot in environmental projects having to do with protecting the environment. In this statue as well, it seems as though he tried to emphasize the breach that is growing between man and nature.

Why an orange? - There is a reason for that. During the last century the orange was a symbol for Jaffa. The orange tree was exported to Israel during the 7th century. It arrived in Israel from the Far East, as a small, round. and sour fruit. Throughout the years, local farmers in Jaffa created and evolved a new variety of oranges, nicknamed "Shmoti Oranges." Around the world the orange won the name "Jaffa Orange." As opposed to the original orange from the East, these were sweet oranges, with the advantage of having few seeds. Until the British Mandate era, and during the first few years of Israel as a country, the agricultural wing became a large and important sector.

Since then, many fields of agriculture have disappeared, giving way to buildings. And still - the brand "Jaffa Orange" continues to be familiar around the world, and sold as a high quality brand. Farmers from different countries pay money for the rights for the brands, in exchange for using the variety and named, for oranges that have never actually seen Jaffa.

A Tour and Life Lesson:

Whale Fountain
#About the Smiling Whale of Old Jaffa

The sculpture "The Smiley Whale" was sculpted by the important artist Ilana Goor in 1983. The sculptor for many years dealt with multidisciplinary art and varied design. In the 1990's she decided to open her private home in Old Jaffa to the general public and turned it into the Ilana Goor Museum, where she presents hundreds of her works alongside her art collection.

The sculpture was sculpted by Goor and placed on Pasteur Street in Old Jaffa. The statue, which stands right next to Jaffa port and its museum building, is actually the water fountain that emerges from the body of the whale. Pay attention to the sound of the moving, soothing water that blends with the surroundings and becomes a permanent sound in it.

The statue shows the whale that swallowed Jonah the prophet, according to the biblical story. Jonah left this port, the port of Jaffa, when he fled to Tarshish because of the mission of God, after he refused to go to the city of Ninevah, the capital of Assyria, and to the people who did evil in the eyes of God. According to the Book of Jonah, "Jonah rose up and fled Tarshish from before the Lord, and went down to Jaffa, and found a ship that came to Tarshish."

A Closer Look:


A Visit:

St. Peter's Church
#About the Church that Became the Symbol of Jaffa

St. Peter's Church can be seen from any point on the beaches of Tel Aviv. It is a Franciscan Catholic Church named after St. Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and the first pope.

Catholic tradition identifies the place of the church with the house of Simon the Tanner, where Saint Peter had a dream, which gave rise to the Christian missionary, which has since then turned outward, to the non-Jews of those times.

The church stands on the site where Christian buildings, Crusader fortresses, churches, a hotel for Pilgrims and more have been built for almost 1,500 years. Unfortunately all these were destroyed by the Muslims. The current Baroque structure was built at the end of the 19th century under the auspices of the Spanish royal family. From the beginning of the 20th century the church served as the main Catholic Church of Jaffa until 1932, when it was replaced by St. Anthony's Church on Yefet Street.

Today, they participate in masses held by the Church in five languages, mainly migrant workers, diplomatic personnel residing in Israel and Christians from the Arab population in Jaffa.

The church and its bell tower appeared in the former symbol of the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

#About the Architecture of the Church of St. Peter

The eastern façade of the building is distinctly divided into a church (to the left and south) and to the monastery (right and north), with the gates of the two separate wings resting side by side.

The façade is light brown, with two light beams crossing it. Among the cornices is a frieze with metaphors bearing the Vatican emblem. The façade is also decorated with vertical reliefs resembling columns with doves symbols, also in a light brown shade. Above the front door is a plaque bearing the symbol of the Custody of the Holy Land, the symbol of the Franciscan order (the naked arm of Jesus and the arm of Francis of Assisi), a dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit and the crown of the kingdom symbolizing the Father God. On the second floor is a large rectangular window with a pediment above it. At the top of the pediment was a travertine rock that was brought from Banias, where Jesus gave the first born to Peter. The bell tower is located in Kedumim Square, in the southwestern corner of the building, and is topped by a dome. In addition to the bell there are also four clocks in the tower, one on each side.

The structure of a single ship on each side has five chapels. Its walls are covered with marble and are fixed with stained-glass windows manufactured in Munich dedicated to Spanish saints. The ceiling is high and is made in the shape of a barrel vault. The pulpit is decorated with brown wood and is attached to the northern wall between two of the chapels. The stand adopts motifs from the plant world - it rests on a pillar like a trunk beneath it, and above it branches that look like the tops of the tree. The main work of art in the church is located above the altar and describes Peter's dream while in Jaffa. In the church there are several other works of art that depict episodes of Peter's life-the changing status of it, the giving of the keys to the sky, the miracle of the fish, and the washing of the feet before the Last Supper. The church also contains descriptions of the Assumption of Purity, the Holy Family, Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Order, and in the first chapel to the left of the entrance, a copy of the black Madonna icon from Czestochowa is displayed.

#About the Monastery in the Church of Petrus

The exterior walls of the monastery are bright and unadorned, and it is divided into two parts. The eastern part is built around a small central courtyard bordering the southern side of the church and on the western side of the dressing room. Along the other two sides there is an arcade leading to meeting rooms and service rooms, and in the center of the courtyard is a statue of Louis IX. The round tower, a remnant of the historic fortress, is located in the northwestern corner of the courtyard and in its basement is a round stone chapel. Narrow steps lead to the upper level where the library of the monastery is located, mainly containing books and periodicals in Polish. The western part of the monastery is higher and houses the monks' quarters, the kitchen, the unused reptorium, a large prayer hall and other rooms. The upper floor of this building has an impressive view of the Mediterranean Sea and Andromeda Rock. The entire building was renovated in the first decade of the 21st century and an elevator was installed there. For four years the monastery housed only four monks - two Poles, an Englishman and a Chilean.
Tour of Old Jaffa
#Tour of the old and new in Old Jaffa

The tour starts from the Clock Tower in Jaffa. On the tour we will see interesting places in one of the oldest cities in the world.

Shall we begin?

At the Clock Tower? Click on the tag "Tour of Old Jaffa".
Flea Market
#About Tel Aviv Jaffa's Flea Market

The picturesque flea market in Jaffa is a well-known and loved Tel Aviv establishment, by residents and visitors. Like all of Israel and especially Tel Aviv Jaffa, many interesting people can be see here: buyers of old furniture who buy one day, and the next sell at exorbitant prices, French immigrants who live nearby and come to meet the people in the market, tourists who come to see locals haggle and sunbathe in the winter sun and collectors looking for bargains with sophisticated sellers, as if there is no tomorrow ... and by the way, if you are looking for a good deal, you should arrive early in the morning, because later all the good items disappear.

This flea market has operated for many years, from the 19th century, at the time when Jaffa was the entryway to the country. Here you can find second-hand products, sometimes their prices are ridiculous, but often prices are reasonable, which show how popular the market is today. Business here is centralized in different areas, by categories. There is an area for jewelry and clothing, there are many furniture stalls on the main road of the market, the inner market alleyways are full of Middle Eastern items, like rugs, nickel lamps and more, there are also rather expensive stores for ancient art pieces from around the world. There are no tours here - you should just wander, discover whatever you can!

The Jaffa flea market is open six days a week, Sundays to Fridays, from early in the morning until the evening. The charm and magic of the Middle East market melt the hearts of visitors, and is also pleasant for Israeli and Tel Avivians, many who come here on a weekly basis.

There are nearby culinary establishments, such as Abulafia and Dr. Shakshuka, these are pleasant to the palate and the belly. Go enjoy!

A Closer Look:


אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

העולם הוא צבעוני ומופלא, אאוריקה כאן בשביל שתגלו אותו...

אלפי נושאים, תמונות וסרטונים, מפתיעים, מסקרנים וממוקדים.

ניתן לנווט בין הפריטים במגע, בעכבר, בגלגלת, או במקשי המקלדת

בואו לגלות, לחקור, ולקבל השראה!

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

נראה שכבר הכרתם את אאוריקה. בטח כבר גיליתם כאן דברים מדהימים, אולי כבר שאלתם שאלות וקיבלתם תשובות טובות.
נשמח לראות משהו מכם בספר האורחים שלנו: איזו מילה טובה, חוות דעת, עצה חכמה לשיפור או כל מה שיש לכם לספר לנו על אאוריקה, כפי שאתם חווים אותה.