About the Complex that was Once a Turkish Train Station and Today is a Lively and Vibrant Outing ComplexIt was born as a train station that from here metal tracks left on the Jaffa-Jerusalem line. This station operated between 1892-1948 and is considered the first rail line in Israel. The station then included the station building and its facilities, the Templar Willand house, who the father built near the family's factory, which produced floor tiles, brinks, and cement for construction. The factory near the station enabled the Templar company to move products to Jerusalem and the Jaffa port, and ship easily to Europe.
The train from Jaffa to Jerusalem began in the late 19th century, after a process of almost 50 years of convincing the Sultan to approve this plan and to actualize it. This line is destined to become the first form of transportation in Israel, and in the region between Turkey and Egypt, that will replace camels as a form of transpotation for heavy and long destinations.
At the end of the British mandate that station was being used mainly for military purposed, a military that built a camp, lead trainings, and transferred armor to Britain, during their evacuation of Israel. It was used until the eruption of the War of Independence.
After the establishment of Israel, the station was neglected for many years. Lately, the city of Tel Aviv has renovated the complex and expanded it, as an entertainment and going out area. The restorations and renovations put an emphasis on preserving the original design and decorations on the historic buildings, and part of the railway line was restored. There are now 22 buildings from different time periods, all this on 20,000 square meters.
The History of the Construction of the Jaffa-Jerusalem Train LineAlready by the mid-19th century Moshe Montefiore had spoken about wanting to build a metal train line in Israel. Montefiore, who wanted to establish in Israel modern manufacturing, understood that one of the difficulties was a crucial lack of transportation of machinery and raw materials for such an industry. After much convincing at the Turkish Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, the Sultan approved the concession for a railway line 30 years later. The person who was able to buy the concession was Yosef Navon, an eccentric businessman from Jerusalem. Together with his partner, Navon tried to find investors to fund the plan, but failed. The concession was sold to a French company, and this is who eventually built the railway line from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and built the stations alongside it.
It took the French company two years to build the railway line. With its completion, in 1892, the official age of trains began in Israel. In a grand ceremony that was held in the Jerusalem station, the new line was opened, and the symbol for the start of the ceremony was the train's arrival from Jaffa. This is the time when a name was found and declared to "all new transportations" arriving to Israel. It turns out that Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the revivalist of the Hebrew language, proposed the name "Rakevet" for the locomotive and the caravans that it pulls.
About the Train ItselfEven though it was a technological advancement in Israel, the first train to arrive in Israel was anything but modern. It went slowly and took 4 hours to get from Jaffa to Jerusalem. This line also had its limitations, during its first years the train only went in each direction once a day.
The price of a trip to Jerusalem in those days was 50 Qirsh in the fancy first class, and 30 Qirsh in economy. And who didn't ride it? From pilgrims and tourists, to merchants and residents who traveled to the holy places or visited relatives in Jerusalem and in cities like Lod and Ramle, along the road. The entourage of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II also found itself traveling in a car that was especially decorated for this purpose and of course - the most famous traveler - the Visionary of Israel, Theodor Herzl.
On the eve of the first World War, almost 200,000 travelers rode the train, along with 50,000 tons of goods.