Architecture in Tel Aviv: understanding the “white city”
Founded in the beginning of the last century, Tel Aviv has been growing for decades into the metropolitan city it is today. With influences from all four corners of the world, architecture in Tel Aviv is unique and truly one of a kind. Strolling through the streets of any neighborhood within the city, outstanding sites and fascinating buildings are everywhere around.
The old city of Jaffa has many notable architectural features scattered around its landscape one of which includes St. Peters Church that stands in the heart of old Jaffa. The church started to be built over 1000 years ago and is a center for Roman Catholic prayer. The Church of St. Peter is unique because it faces west towards the Mediterranean Sea, which is different compared to most churches that face east. The orientation of the church is significant because it was said that St. Peter had a vision while looking out to sea and later became the worlds first Pope. Constructed in the baroque style, St. Peters church has massive vaulted ceilings, beautiful marble floors and walls covered in oil paintings.
The 1920s was a hectic period in the history of the city with buildings in all kinds of eclectic style going up throughout Tel Aviv. Characterized by features like symmetry, archways, large balconies and vibrant, ornate facades, eclectic architecture is full of beauty. Eclectic buildings have strong oriental traits as well as features incorporating Jewish images. To see several eclectic style buildings, visit Nachalat Binyamim Street near the Carmel Market. Another well-known eclectic building in Tel Aviv is the Bialik house constructed in 1925 and located at Bialik square.
With more than 4000 buildings characterized as Bauhaus all over the city, this school with roots in Germany is doubtless the first that springs to mind when talking telavivian architecture. These are also the buildings that earned Tel Aviv a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. No other city in the world has such a large concentration of Bauhaus architecture. Constructed mainly in the years between 1930 and 1950, Bauhaus comes from the Germany and word simply means, “building school.” Bauhaus buildings are constructed in a unique manner combining functional purposes with low cost materials and are often white, giving the nickname White City to Tel Aviv. They often have rounded balconies and are easy to spot when walking around the city. Stroll down Rothschild Avenue and loose yourself in the small streets around Nachmani and Yahvne Street to get a good look at well preserved Bauhaus. The Bauhaus Center offers popular walking tours. Visit www.bauhaus-center.com for information.
Skyscrapers are the most recent architectural addition to Tel Aviv and are most commonly found condensed within the city in comparison to the rest of Israel. Israel’s tallest skyscraper was the Shalom Meir Tower from 1965 to 1999 until the Azrieli Towers were built and still today hold the title at 193 meters high. Skyscrapers in Tel Aviv are both residential and office buildings and are continuing to be built every year.
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