History seems to come to life for people as soon as they arrive in Israel and they often choose to spend their time between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Both areas offer numerous fascinating attractions as well as things to do. You may want to plan your trip to this country during off peak times to avoid huge crowds and the long lines that come with them.
Tel Aviv was founded on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa in 1909 by Jews, although its first neighbourhoods had already been established back in 1886. Immigration by the Jews allowed Tel Aviv’s population to grow rapidly, and the city quickly had more people than Jaffa. In 1950, the two areas merged as one, to create the city that everyone knows today.
When you arrive in Tel Aviv, you will want to consider staying at the Sheraton Tel Aviv. It is in the middle of the city, where all the action is, yet it offers tranquillity with its magnificent beach setting. Guests enjoy relaxing on their balconies as they look out at the marina or Jaffa and no one can resist walking along the shoreline as the sun is setting at the end of the day.
History Experiences in Israel – Tel Aviv
There are a few things that you must-do while visiting Tel Aviv and these items need to be added to your itinerary.
- Visit Old Jaffa – Old Jaffa is an ancient city that according to legend was named after Noah’s son, Japhet. Old Jaffa was first inhabited seventy-five hundred years ago, and it can be found on a hill that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. While in Old Jaffa, everyone must see the Jaffa Watchtower, which was constructed in 1906. If you want to see spectacular views of the city, consider climbing to the top.
- Shuk Hapishpishim – This is also known as the Jaffa Flea Market and it is an outdoor flea market that is held every day except Saturday. You can stroll around while purchasing clothing, trinkets, and furniture. If you get hungry while you are walking around, you have a plethora of eateries nearby that serve a variety of traditional foods.
- Abulafiya’s Bakery – This bakery is located at 7 Yefet Street and has been open since 1879. They sell traditional Arabic pastries including pita bread, Arabic bagels, baklava, knafeh, and salty cheese and spinach sambusak stuffed with hardboiled eggs. Do not wait until you are starving to venture over there though, because there is always a long line!
- Zodiac Fountain – Before you leave Old Jaffa, you will want to stop at the Zodiac Fountain near the Jaffa Hilltop. It is a sculpture that was designed by Jaffa artists and it is next to a beautiful stone mosaic that depicts all twelve astrological signs.
Once you have completed your time in Tel Aviv, it will be time to continue your journey to Jerusalem. You may think that anyone who heads to Jerusalem needs to be religious, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. People who have no beliefs can fully appreciate what Jerusalem has to offer, whether it is history, beautiful landscapes, or even tranquillity and the ability to spend time with friends and family.
After all, Jerusalem happens to be the oldest city in the world, despite being destroyed at least twice, besieged twenty-three times, attacked fifty-two times, and captured and recaptured forty-four times. The city does seem to be invincible, so everyone should be able to feel or learn something while they are there.
You may want to stay at the King David Jerusalem Hotel, which is the same place numerous world leaders, artists, and celebrities choose when they are in Jerusalem. Of course, the spectacular views of the Old City, the luxurious rooms, delicious cuisine, and extraordinary customer service keep guests returning year after year as well.
While in Jerusalem, you will want to do the following activities.
- Walk along Via Dolorosa – This street in the Old City of Jerusalem is believed to be where Jesus walked on his way to his own crucifixion. The route goes from the Antonia Fortress to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
- The Garden Tomb – This is an alternative to the route above and allows people to remember Jesus in a more beautiful setting. This site is believed to be where Jesus was resurrected after his crucifixion, and it provides a place of serenity and hope.
- The Western Wall – This wall was constructed in 20 B.C. and you can go and pray while you are there. For a more unique experience, you many want to take a guided tour of the underground tunnels that are part of the original and unrestored site.
- Mount of Olives – To the east of Jerusalem are three hills and one of them is the Mount of Olives. It is one of the main cemeteries in Jerusalem and has a complex of catacombs called the Tombs of the Prophets.
At one point during your time in Israel, you will want to hire a car to visit Bethlehem in Palestine. This will require two drivers, one in Israel and another once you reach the Palestinian border. Once you arrive in Bethlehem, you can visit the church of the nativity where Jesus was born.
Your trip to Israel will be an experience that you will remember for a lifetime. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are two of the best regions of the country and you will find yourself rejuvenated once you have been to them both and experienced them firsthand.