For many people the difference between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv is like the difference between old and new. Jerusalem is situated in the mountains and is known to be an ancient city with old stone buildings, rich with history and religious monuments. Tel Aviv is situated on the shore of the Mediterranean and is known for its modern culture and architecture, lively night-life (like NYC, it’s called “the city that never sleeps”), and secular and liberal vibe. But this perception of Tel Aviv is not completely true. Jaffa, the southern part of Tel Aviv is actually a very ancient port city. There are archeological findings that show that it was already inhabited by the 8th century BC. Some believe that Japhet, the youngest son of Noah, built it after the flood. Old Jaffa is my favorite part of Tel Aviv. In my recent visit to Israel I got to spend a day there with my sister Liora. Below are short notes from our visit and some photos. If you come to the area, make sure to give yourself a couple of hours to visit the place and enjoy dinner at the port while watching a beautiful sunset.
The old City
We started our day exploring the narrow alleys of the old city, walking between old stone structures and exploring the many different art galleries. Old Jaffa is built on a small hill; from the top you can see the long beach line of Tel Aviv and the promenade along it that leads all the way to old Jaffa.
The historic Jaffa Port is now a fishing harbor and a marina where visitors can take a tour on a boat. We stopped there for lunch at a restaurant called The Old Man and the Sea. It’s a Middle Eastern style fish restaurant, meaning immediately after being seated and before you get your fish order, you are served with an assortment of salads and various spreads along with fresh pita bread.
The Flea Market
After lunch we went to explore the famous local Flea Market. From the port we had to cross through the old city to get to the more urban part of Jaffa, where old and new exist next to each other. It’s a very colorful walk among different stores, cafés, boutiques, and countless fruit juice stands.