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Israel: Jaffa

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Jaffa | Israel | Asia

[Visited: December 2000, July 2006]

A Saturday afternoon in Tel Aviv. Recent political developments in this country are not positive, and therefore venturing in the streets could be regarded as dangerous. Still, it is a beautiful day. When I walk along the boulevard, I can see many families outside, enjoying the weather. Saturday is sabbat, the holy day of the Jews. I am on my way to Jaffa, the 4,000 year old city. This is one of the oldest harbours, from which prophet Jonah set out for a trip that would end in the belly of a whale, and here Andromeda was saved by Perseus after having been tied to a rock as a sacrifice to a sea monster.

Picture of Jaffa (Israel): Elegant statue in Jaffa

Jaffa has many different roots in history: the Egyptians, Greeks, Phoenicians, the Turks and the English all left their traces. Nowadays it is not nearly as important as neighbouring metropolis Tel Aviv. But as far as history is concerned, Jaffa is clearly more important. Wandering around the little alleys brings you to hidden corners, under tunnels, up stairs, panoramic viewpoints, and ultimately the harbour and the sea.

Picture of Jaffa (Israel): Stair street in Jaffa

I noted immediately that this area is rife with religious places. In a small area, I found a mosque, a synagogue, a Greek orthodox church, an Armenian church, a Roman Catholic church. A few houses have been turned into art galleries. In one of the small alleys, an old shutter dangles from a window and makes a soft, repetitive noise as it is moved by the wind. Even though modern Tel Aviv is nearby, walking around in Jaffa means walking back in time.

Picture of Jaffa (Israel): Church in Jaffa near Tel Aviv
Picture of Jaffa (Israel): Jaffa: mosque looking out over the turquoise Mediterranean Sea
Picture of Jaffa (Israel): House in Jaffa with blue balcony
Picture of Jaffa (Israel): Hanging tree on small square in Jaffa with photo exhibition
Picture of Jaffa (Israel): Alley with galleries in Jaffa
Picture of Jaffa (Israel): Inspiring sea for a painter in Jaffa
Picture of Jaffa (Israel): House in Jaffa near Tel Aviv
Picture of Jaffa (Israel): Alley in Jaffa

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