Tel Aviv

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Tel-Aviv Coat of arms
Tel-Aviv Coat of arms
Tel-Aviv was founded on empty dunes north of the existing city of Jaffa. This photograph is of the auction of the first lots. By coincidence, the first kibbutz, Degania, was founded the same year.
Tel-Aviv was founded on empty dunes north of the existing city of Jaffa. This photograph is of the auction of the first lots. By coincidence, the first kibbutz, Degania, was founded the same year.

Tel-Aviv-Yafo (Hebrew תֶּל אָבִיב-יָפוֹ (without niqqud: תל אביב-יפו); Arabic تَلْ اَبِيبْ-يَافَا Tal-Abīb-Yāfā) is an Israeli city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Tel-Aviv is also part of the largest and most populous metropolitan area in Israel, known as Gush Dan ("Dan Aggregate"). Tel-Aviv is located at 32°5' North, 34°48' East (32.08333, 34.8). [1]

The larger metropolitan area comprises a number of separate municipalities with around 1.8 million people living in the 14 km sprawl along the Mediterranean coast. Tel-Aviv-Yafo itself has a population of 365,000 and a land area of approximately 50,500 dunums (50.5 sq. km), making it the second largest city (in terms of population) in Israel. Bat Yam, Holon, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Bnei Brak, Petah Tikva, Rishon LeZion, Ramat Ha-Sharon and Herzliyya are the other major cities in the area known as Gush Dan1.


Origin of the name

Tel-Aviv at night
Tel-Aviv at night
Dizengoff Center
Dizengoff Center

The name Tel Aviv in Hebrew means "Hill (tel) of Spring (aviv)", the title given by Nahum Sokolov to a Hebrew translation which he made of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland, whose title means "Old-new-land". The Hebrew word aviv means the season called Spring, not source of water.

There is an account that Sokolov designed the book title Tel-Aviv to suggest the destruction of the ancient Jewish state and the hoped-for restoration of a new Jewish state: aviv = "the season of Spring" to symbolize the renewal; and tel to symbolize the destruction of the ancient state, following not the usual Hebrew meaning of the word "tel" but a modern European meaning "mound of accumulated ruins".

Tel-Aviv (place in Babylonia mentioned in the Bible)

The name "Tel-Aviv" was taken by Nahum Sokolov from the Book of Ezekiel, 3:15 : "Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days." The place called Tel-Aviv in the Hebrew Bible is usually spelt Tel-abib or similarly in Bible translations. The Aviv referred to may have been the season of Spring directly, or it may have referred to a god or goddess in Mesopotamian belief of the time who caused Spring to come.


Corner of Allenby and Rotschild Street
Corner of Allenby and Rotschild Street

The settlement in the area of modern southern Tel-Aviv (the neighbourhoods of Neve Shalom and Neve Tsedek) was started in the 1880s as a substitute for the rather expensive Arab neighbourhoods of Jaffa. However the city of Tel-Aviv itself was established only in 1909 as Ahuzat Bayit and was later renamed to Tel-Aviv. At its founding, Tel Aviv was intended only to be a suburb, a bedroom community, with the workers commuting to Jaffa. However, a dispute broke out between the Jews of Tel-Aviv and the Arabs of Jaffa in 1921 or thereabouts, and this led the denizens of Tel Aviv to create a new central business district. Owing to its proximity to the port of Jaffa, and its status as the first Jewish community that immigrants saw when coming into the country, Tel-Aviv quickly grew to become the centre of Israeli urban life, and it remains so to this day. In 1950 Tel-Aviv and Jaffa were united in a single municipality - Tel-Aviv-Yafo.

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, for a period of eight months (May-December 1948) during the Arab blockade of Jerusalem it also served as the temporary de facto capital of Israel. Israel subsequently designated Jerusalem as its capital.


Tel-Aviv University (TAU), the second largest university in Israel, is located in a northern neighborhood named Ramat-Aviv. TAU has an excellent reputation internationally, mostly famous for its physics, computer science and chemistry departments.

There are many cultural centers in Tel-Aviv, including the Opera House and the Culture Hall (with a 3,000 seat concert hall). Tel-Aviv also has many theatre companies and theatre halls, HaBima ("The Stage") is the most recognized.

Tel-Aviv has many museums and art galleries.

  • The Eretz Israel Museum is known for its rich collection of archeology and history exhibits.
  • The major art museum in Israel is the Tel-Aviv Arts Museum.
  • Batey Haosef Museum is a museum for the military history of the Israel Defense Forces. It is regarded by many experts and arms collectors as a real jewel, containing rare exhibits and authentic pieces from Israel's history as well as a wide variety of firearms and pictures.
  • The Palmach Museum near Tel Aviv University offers a unique multimedia experience, as well as vast archives, depicting the lives of young self-trained Jewish soldiers who eventually became the first defenders of Israel.
  • Near Charles Clore's garden in north Jaffa, Israel, there is a small museum of the Etzel Jewish millitant organization, one of whose achievements was conquering Jaffa into Israeli control in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  • In the campus of TAU is the Jewish Diaspora Museum, dedicated to Jewish history throughout the world. Carrying both historical documents and art, the museum tells the story of Jewish prosperity and prosecution throughout the centuries of exile.

In July 2003, Tel Aviv's White City was announced unanimously by the UNESCO council as a World Heritage Site, due to its massive assemblage of the Bauhaus International Style buildings, the city's most precious architectural style.

Tel Aviv hosts the largest Gay Pride Parade in Israel, drawing upwards of 100,000 people. Tel Aviv is known for its openness as well as superlative nightlife.

Tel-Aviv Pride Parade, 2004
Tel-Aviv Pride Parade, 2004


Tel-Aviv holds some of the top sports teams in Israel, and in one case even in the world. Tel-Aviv is the only city ever to have 3 clubs in the Israeli football premier league.

The Maccabi Tel-Aviv Sports Club was founded in 1909 and houses over 10 sport branches, such as the Maccabi Tel-Aviv basketball club (45 times Israeli champion, 35 times Israeli cup holder and 5 times European Champions cup holder), the Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC soccer club (18 times Israeli champion, 22 times Israeli cup holder, twice Israeli Toto cup holder and twice Asia cup holder), and a Judo club (Yael Arad of Maccabi Tel-Aviv won a silver medal in the 1992 Olympic Games).

The Hapoel Tel-Aviv Sports Club was founded in 1923, and over the years has included over 11 sport branches, including Hapoel Tel Aviv basketball club (5 Israeli championships, 4 Israeli cups) and Hapoel Tel Aviv soccer club (13 Israeli championships, 10 Israeli cups, one Toto cup and once Asia champion), kayaking Club, women's basketball club and more that have always been amongst the top Israeli clubs.

Bnei Yehuda Tel-Aviv's soccer club (once Israeli champion, twice Israeli cup holder and twice Israeli Toto cup holder) is the only Israeli soccer team on the highest Israeli soccer league (Ligat Ha'al) that represents only a neighbourhood - Shechunat Hatikva ("The Hope Neighborhood") in Tel Aviv - and not an entire city.

Other minor soccer clubs of mainly historical importance include Shimshon Tel Aviv and Beitar Tel Aviv.


The main access route of Tel-Aviv is the Ayalon Highway, which goes through the city - north to south - on the Ayalon River route, which had been ordered between the 2 lanes.

Tel-Aviv has 4 railroad stations along the Ayalon Highway. The stops are from north to south: Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv Merkaz (Tel Aviv Central Train Station, near the Masof 2000 Bus Depot.), Tel-Aviv Ha-Shalom (at the Azrieli Center shopping mall) and Tel-Aviv Ha-Haganah (Near the Tel-Aviv Central Bus Station). It is estimated that about 1 million people use the train from Rishon LeZion, Rehovot, and Petah Tikva to Tel-Aviv and back, per month.

The Tel-Aviv Central Bus Station, the largest central bus station in the world, is located in the south. The main bus network in Tel-Aviv belongs to the Dan Bus Cooperative. The Israeli Egged Bus Cooperative, the world's second-largest bus company, also has a bus network in the city.

Tel-Aviv's airport is Dov Hoz Airport Sde Dov (code: SDV), located at the north of the city and serves as a major airport for domestic flights.

Ben Gurion International Airport (code:TLV), which is Israel's main international airport and also serves the city, is located 15 km southeast of Tel Aviv near the city of Lod.

A Tel Aviv Subway is expected to be completed by 2012, improving public transportation in the city dramatically.

Mayors of Tel Aviv


1 Ramat Ha-Sharon and Herzliyya, though neighbouring Tel Aviv, are not considered part of Gush Dan, but rather of an area named Sharon.

2 Jerusalem is fully accepted as Israel's capital by three countries, the United States of America, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Many other countries recognize Israel's right to decide its capital, but are not fully accepting any designation until further Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. However, these countries do not recognize Tel-Aviv or any other city as Israel's capital instead.

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