Located on the shores of the Mediterranean, Jaffa with its colourful, noisy and dusty streets sits on a cliff, and the skyscrapers of Neve Tzedek stay behind it. Those used to be two different entities until 1950 when they were united into the Tel Aviv-Jaffa greater area.
Old city is the place where modern and progressive Israeli vibes stay in the background; however this is the very heart of the historical heritage sites of this area! There are a few places you must not miss there.
What to see in Jaffa?
First of all, visit the Clock Square and Jaffa Clock Tower (Migdal HaShaon, dating back to 1906 and dedicated to Sultan Abdul Hamid II) standing on it; those are some of the most easily recognized landmarks of Jaffa.
Another famous spot is a Suspended orange tree by artist Ran Morin, supported by chains and hanging about 1 metre above the ground. This art object featuring a real tree is said to represent the relationship between nature and a human.
Look around as well – there are many art galleries and art shops in that part of Jaffa too!
Shuk Hapishpishim, or the Flea market, is a lively eclectic market where you can look for all sorts of ancient treasures. There are the covered part of the market, the separate shops with stalls and some improvised selling points too: just people putting the goods on the ground!
I was especially surprised by the number of furniture pieces and various interior decorations sold there.
I really enjoyed my cup of coffee in the Market House (Atlas Boutique Hotel) just across the road from it.
Make sure you go down to the Jaffa Port. This used to be the main port of the city til the mid of British mandate period. There are quite a few nice restaurants and shops attracting many tourists. Also, do you remember the ancient Greek legend about the Andromeda saved by Perseus? Well, the rock on which the poor lady stood awaiting to be killed by a marine monster, is here, in Jaffa port too!
And yes, the National height point is located here too.
There are a lot of important religious sites in Jaffa as well. Mahmoudiya Mosque dating to the late 18th – early 19th centuries is probably the most known of them (you have to be dressed a super modestly – I mean, all covered, to enter it even as tourist).
You could also check the Al-Bahr Mosque (or The Sea Mosque, dating to approximately 1675: it appeared on the drawing of the city since then), St. Peter’s Church and an ancient Armenian Covent of St Nicholas which served also as a guest house for the Armenian pilgrims.
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