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Tel Aviv and the Central Coast

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The White City of Tel Aviv 

UNESCO Proclamation

The World Heritage Committee has inscribed The White City of Tel Aviv - The Modern Movement on the World Heritage List. Inscritption on this list confirms the exceptional and universal value of a cultural or natural site which requires protection for the benefit of all humanity."




Tel Aviv, is the largest city in Israel and is the cosmopolitan center of the country. Dubbed the "White City", it was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003 because of its special architectural features that date back to the 1930's. Many of the buildings, squares and avenues in Tel Aviv are built with a unique Bauhaus design and are protected by the UNESCO designation. Tel Aviv represents Israel's first modern city." 



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History of Tel Aviv


Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and constructed on sand dunes situated north of the ancient city of Jaffa. EA few dozen people, dressed in fine clothing, joined together on the sand dunes north of Jaffa for a lottery (known as the seashell lottery) in order to divide the land that they had jointly purchased. This was the beginning.

The city's name comes from two words, "Tel" referring to the ancient remains of cities that are situated one on top of the other in many areas in the region and "aviv" meaning "spring" which refers to the rebirth and newness of the modern county. Most of Israel's current population resides within one hour of Tel Aviv and the city is home to much ot the country's business activity.


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Attractions, Entertainment and Culture


The city is also known for its selection of culture, beaches, restaurants, and shopping. Major museums include Tel Aviv Art Museum, Eretz Yisrael Museum, Independence Hall, Palmach Museum, the Children's Museum in nearby Holon and many others.


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The cities beaches represent some of the country's finest and dot the western coast of the city. The city offers a number of fantastic shopping experiences. For local handiworks, try the Nachalat Binyamin outdoor mall which is opened on Tuesdays and Fridays. Shuk HaCarmel borders Nachalat Binyamin and is opened Sunday through Friday. This outdoor shuk sells fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, clothing, housewares, luggage, nuts and cheese and many other products. Several major malls are situated throughout the city including the Ramat Aviv Mall, Givatayim Mall, Gan Hair, and Dizengoff Center. For very upscale shopping, the outdoor commercial center, Kikar Hamedina, offers numerous international boutiques and designers.


Biblical Significance - A city within a city - the Philistine city of Qasile in the middle of present-day Tel-Aviv

Most of the people visiting or living in Tel-Aviv can't guess that under the busy and lively modern city lies a 3200 year old Philistine city, called Tell Qasile. Its location, close to the Yarkon River and the coast, made Tell Qasile a commercial center in the 12th - 11th centuries BCE. The remains of this city can still be seen at the Eretz Israel Museum, in the north of Tel-Aviv.

The 12th century BCE started with a crisis. The Mediterranean basin experienced many changes: the main empires collapsed or declined and many settlements in Canaan were ruined. The cause of this crisis is uncertain: some blame it on a climatic calamity, some on an industrial revolution, and some on political power struggles. But the usual suspects are the Sea Peoples - and the Philistines among them.

The Philistines occupied the southern coast of Canaan, and built some impressive cities. Five of them are mentioned in the Bible: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath. Besides those was also Tell Qasile.
One of the big questions about the Philistines is their origin. The findings in Tel Qasile in particular, and in all the Philistine sites in general, clearly indicate that the inhabitants were not Canaanites. Most of the Philistine findings related to their architecture, art and cult bare resemblance to those of the Aegean Sea.

The excavators revealed 3 layers of Philistine settlements from Iron Age I (12th-11th century BCE). The differences between the layers indicate the development of the city, which can be seen in its private houses, public buildings and temples. The structure of Tell Qasile's early temples can be compared to the structure of temples from Phylakopi (a site in the island of Milos) and Mycenae (in mainland Greece).

The findings from the temples include a variety of cult objects, like figures, masks and offering bowls. Three objects are very interesting and meaningful:

• A vessel shaped like a woman whose breasts probably poured out milk as part of a ritual of fertility.
• A lion-shaped cup, a traditional Philistine artifact, which reminds descriptions of Aegean emissaries' vessels in Egyptian drawings.
• Offering bowls decorated with bird figurines. The bird seems to be a Philistine motif - it decorates ceramic objects, daily-used or for cultic purpose, and the Philistines ships, as they were described in Egyptian drawings.
The Philistine city was ruined in a big fire in the 10th century BCE, but was later rebuilt. The site was settled through all the ages (in various degrees) till the Byzantine period.


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