Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Jaffa is one of the world's oldest ports and dates back about 4,000 years to the Canaanites.  It's thought that this is the port that Jonah left from in the story of the whale.

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 on the outskirts of Jaffa but Tel Aviv's growing population eventually outpaced the port city.  In 1950, Tel Aviv and Jaffa merged into a single municipality and Jaffa became Tel Aviv-Yafo, תל אביב-יפו.  Jaffa is home about 60,000 people.

The clock tower was built in 1906.  It was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Sultan Abdul Hamid II's reign over the Ottoman Empire.

Built in 1897, the facade and columns are all that remain of the Saraya which was the center of the Ottoman government. 

The Mahmoudiya Mosque is the largest mosque in Jaffa.  Initial construction began in 1730 but most of the complex was completed in 1812.


The Statue of Faith sits on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean.  The sculpture depicts several biblical scenes including the Binding of Isaac, the Conquest of Jericho and Jacob's Ladder. 

St. Peter's Church is a Franciscan Church.  The Baroque style church was built, in 1888, on top of an old Crusaders' citadel.

Mar Michal Church is a Greek Orthodox monastery complex.  It was first built in the second half of the 17th century.  Today, services are held on Saturdays and Sundays in Russian and Romanian.

The Floating Orange Tree was done in 1993 by sculptor Ran Morin.  The orange tree in an earthenware pot hangs from chains in an alley.  The work is a representation of the Jewish people who were uprooted by the Romans in 135 AD.

The House of Simon the Tanner is an important site for Christians.  This is where Peter the Apostle had a dream which he interpreted as divine permission to teach Christianity to Jews and Gentiles alike.  So this is where Judaism and Christianity started to split.

The Sea Mosque is built from sandstone blocks.  The exact date of construction is unknown but it dates back to at least the early 17th century.  Muslim sailors and fishermen would pray here before going out to sea.

Apparently, 157 Americans sailed from Maine, in 1866, with wooden houses to establish an American colony in Jaffa.  Not sure if it still exists but there's a monument for it.

The Jaffa Railway Station was built in 1892 as the terminus between Jaffa and Jerusalem.  This was the first railway in the Middle East.  The station was closed in 1948.  Today, it is part of an entertainment and leisure venue. 

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