Jona's Whale in Jaffa

City of Jaffa

Brief History

Jaffa, to the south of the city center, preserves something of the atmosphere of an old Arab town, very different from the European air of Tel Aviv. It is particularly lively in the evening, when the restaurants in the heart of the old town are thronged with people.

Jaffa has undergone great changes in the 20th century. During the 1921 riots, in the interests of maintaining order, the British authorities cut wide modern streets through the maze of alleys; then in 1948, following the mass flight of the Arab population, extensive slum clearance and redevelopment was necessary. Although part of the bazaar has been preserved, some streets have been widened, destroyed buildings have been cleared away and others have been restored. Many of them are now bars, restaurants and artists' quarters. The ancient remains on the acropolis, the site of the earliest settlement, have also been preserved. In recent years the historic buildings in the old town have been excellently restored.