Exploring Jaffa

Ajami


A typical Ajami street. By Ori~ (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons


Jaffa is the ancient port out of which modern day Tel Aviv has grown. The Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa is located south of the Old City and Port of Jaffa, and rose to international fame in 2009 as the name of a film set here which won international awards and was nominated for an Oscar. The film explored life in the neighborhood, which remains largely Arab in population, and is one of the first Israeli films to be created largely in Arabic. This part of Jaffa is often glossed over by tourists as it falls further south than the majority of the ‘tourist sites’ in the Old City, Port, and Flea Market areas. With a bit of local knowledge, however, Ajami offers a unique cultural experience. 

Hamidron Park, the New Park. Credit: Samy D.
Via Samy D.


Hamidron Park (“the slope park”). It is true that once it was a neighborhood, it is true that in the 80′s the place turned to be a construction waste site, it is also true that the development of the park was accelerated when many Israeli Jews moved to Jaffa – but the bottom line is that it is very very beautiful.
In the beginning, the hills of construction waste were made out of colorful tiles, ceramic electric fuses and even everyday’s household items which cried out the story of the obliterated neighborhood. The time passing, the salty air and giant grinding machines transformed the broken pieces of life to high hills of sand and gravel. From one weekend to another the hills moved and slid to their final position of curvaceous slopes having an abundance of intimate hideaways and vast public spaces. There is even one spot in which Tel Aviv from one side and Bat-Yam on the other are hidden from the eye and all one can see is more than 180 degrees of blue touching blue.

Derech-Hagouf (Jaffa-Chic Wellness Center). In a small turn from Kedem Street (3 Menuha Street) you can find the Jaffa-chic wellness center Derech-Haguf. Go there for an Ayurvedic massage. After the treatment you can sit on the small terrace facing the sea and drink cold tamarind juice. 

The Peres House for Peace in Jaffa by Roi Boshi via Wikimedia Commons

The Peres Center for Peace. An incredible institution named for President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1996, this unique center houses what is effectively Peres’s Presidential Library, as well as hosting activities promoting coexistence between Jews and Arabs within Israel and on an international basis.

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