The port of Jaffo/Yaffa

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Jaffo/Yaffa or Jaffa, however you want to spell it, is now a part of the municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and definitely one of the most interesting parts of the city, especially for history buffs. And let's face it, a lot of people who visit Israel are into history in some way, even though Tel Aviv might not be at the top of the list of destinations they go to when in the country. But Jaffa is very different from Tel Aviv, founded in 1909, since this city is actually considered to be the world's oldest port, and the area where it is located has been inhabited since around the year 7 500 BCE. The city itself is believed to be over 4 000 years old, so it's no wonder Jaffa is mentioned several times in the Bible, and the historical feel is still something you very strongly feel when you visit this part of Tel Aviv. The municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffo was not always great at taking advantage of Jaffa's long and impressive history, but in recent years the municipality has taken several measures that aim to make Jaffa more accessible and welcoming to tourists. Major renovations of the port have taken place, and walking around in the port of Jaffo is now a very nice experience. There are many great restaurants and coffee shops in the area, which is basically a long boardwalk that you can access by simply walking south from any beach in Tel Aviv (and while you do so, you can actually see Jaffa, so estimating the distance from where you are should not be too hard), as well as a nice food market, in a new building. We especially recommend the Rokach tapas bar, if you are not very hungry! While walking in the port of Jaffo you will also be able to enjoy wonderful views of the sea, as well as of Tel Aviv, because in the same way that you can see Jaffo from Tel Aviv, you can see Tel Aviv from Jaffo as well. If you'd like to do some shopping, there are also several small shops (mostly selling jewelry and other locally designed small items) and galleries in the port. But the biggest effort when it comes to tourism in Jaffa has been put into developing a museum where visitors can learn more about the city and it's history. The museum is called Museum of Antiquities of Tel Aviv Jaffa or the Jaffa Museum, and while we (the bloggers running this blog, that is) haven't had a chance to go there yet ourselves (we're really hoping too, soon though!), we have heard excellent things about the museum. It's located in a really nice historic building and displays several archaeological items actually found in the city, but also a multimedia experience that brings the history of the city to life in an interesting and unique way.   You can also get a headset and do your own walking tour of the port, as well as to other attractions in Jaffo if you want. You pay 30 NIS as a rental fee for this, but it is well worth it, since you will be able to understand what you are actually seeing much better with it. You can read more about this DYI tour and headset here. But no matter if you decide to get a headset or not, there are tons of things to see and experience in this port, making it one of the top attractions in all of Tel Aviv-Jaffo these days. We also recommend it, even for those who live in Tel Aviv, for weekends and similar, just because it's such a different experience compared to the rest of the city. So if you feel like having a break from the skyscrapers and hustle of bustle of central Tel Aviv, the port of Jaffo is really a great option for you! But of course there are tons of other things to see in Jaffo besides the port of Jaffo as well. We hope to introduce them to readers separately though. So for now our tip is just to get to the port area, enjoy the boardwalk and see what strikes your fancy!

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