This is the main port of entry for international arrival to Israel. The city reminded me of a more modern version of Acapulco, Mexico, with its expansive beaches but not as metropolitan as Miami, Florida. There are an amazing number of restaurants, hotels, beaches and office buildings in this seaside city and it is the heart of Israel’s commerce and population. The city has a southern border, the port of Jaffa, which dates back to Biblical times. It is here that Jonah set sail for what turned out to be his journey to the belly of a whale. Based on archaeological digs, Jaffa was founded in the Middle Canaanite period around 1,600 BC. Jaffa was captured by a whole succession of conquerors: Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Muslim Arabs until the 19th century. In the second half of the 19th century, Jewish people began immigrating here and rebuilt the port city.
The city is a good place to relax and unwind – particularly if you enjoy the beach life. We took some side excursions to the Nahalat Binyamin Pedestrian Mall and Carmel Market for shopping.
The restored section of the Old Port of Jaffa is a great place to visit if you are in Tel Aviv. Kedumim Square is Old Jaffa’s central plaza and contains lots of old shops and an interesting antique clock tower. St. Peter’s Monastery is a 19th century BC Catholic church in the area and Summit Park is a good place to have a picnic and enjoy the view of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. There is an interesting Wishing Bridge where you can find your horoscope sign and make a wish. There is also an interesting statue called Faith at the top of the Park symbolizing the sacrifice of Abraham. You can also see Andromeda’s Rock from the Park which is where the people of Jaffa tied Andromeda to the rock for sacrifice to the sea monster to appease the sea god Poseidon. But Perseus, riding the winged horse Pegasus, soared from the sky to kill the monster.
This museum contains 2,500 years of Jewish life outside of Israel (Diaspora) beginning with the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem and depicting major events at the exile to Babylon and their expulsion from Spain in 1492. You can’t take any photos here but there are some great exhibits like minature synagogues around the world.