Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tel Aviv and Jaffa

I took this tour on July 8th. I'm getting better about posting. This trip was really fun but it was so hot out that day and we did a lot of walking. The sun was so bright so all of this combined means I had a migraine headache by the time we got back. The tour started in Jaffa a really old port city. I loved getting to see the ocean.

I loved the winding streets and stone buildings of Jaffa. The guide said that the real estate in Jaffa is pretty expensive.  This picture was taken around 9am I think that's why the shadows are so strong.

Jaffa is mentioned in the New Testament Peter visited here. According to the book of Acts Peter stayed with a man called Simon the Tanner. The picture to the left is the house of Simon. I'm not sure if it is the actual house where Simon lived we didn't get to go inside but it is at least the traditional site where Simon lived. Simon the Tanner is mentioned in Acts 9:43,10:6 and 10:32. Depending on what translation you are looking at it might say Peter went to Joppa. I'm guessing this is because of how the name of the city is written in Hebrew. The same letter is used for f and p the only difference between the two letters is a dot in one of them called a dagesh. I think Acts was originally written in Greek so I can't check to see how they rendered the city name since I don't know Greek yet.

Jaffa was a very important port city in the ancient world several famous figures passed through this town. The Romans came through Jaffa. Richard the Lionheart and many Crusaders came through Jaffa. And Napoleon came through Jaffa there is a statue of him in the picture to the right. In fact there are several statues of Napoleon identical to this one throughout the city.
Our guide told us the story of Napoleon coming to Jaffa. He didn't actually plan to conquer the city. Napoleon sent one solider with a white flag up to the city gates. The problem was the inhabitants of the city didn't know what a white flag meant. So they cut off the man's head and mounted it on the city wall. Napoleon was of course upset so he then proceeded to conquer the city. The only problem was the plague was in the city and a large number of his soldiers got sick.

This picture is looking over at the larger city of Tel Aviv. The picture appears darker because I am standing in the shade of a palm tree. It was really hot.

I have no idea what this statue is supposed to represent but it definitely looks interesting.

I was very lucky to get this picture. Our guide was talking about the history of Jaffa when he suddenly stopped and pointed out this bird. This is the national bird of Israel it's called the Hoopoe. You can read more about it here. When I took this picture the bird was just at the limit of my camera's zoom capabilities so I wasn't sure if it was going to turn out. I had to fix the photo a little in photoshop so the bird was more in the center. I felt like a real photographer getting a wildlife shot like this.

Jaffa is known for its orange orchards at least it was in the past. Jaffa used to have large orange orchards but it doesn't today. However you can still find Jaffa oranges in your local grocery store. The rights to use the name Jaffa oranges has been sold to orchards in Spain and Italy. This orange tree is art by one man who has hung different trees in a similar manner in different cities all over Israel.  Today Jaffa is known for its art galleries.

Because I haven't shown a cat picture in forever. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the Jaffa alley cat! Notice his ears are really short all the cats I saw in Jaffa had really short ears. When I first looked at him I thought maybe he had been in a fight and lost part of his ears but his ears are just short.

Church of Saint Peter this church is strange because it is facing west. Most churches face east to the rising sun. I think this church is facing west in order to face the port. I am standing close to the church so you can't see the steeple in this picture.

Inside Saint Peter's church.

A beautiful view of the ocean. The tower is a minaret of a mosque. You can't see in this picture but there are a few rocks out in the surf. The Greek myth of Andromeda and Perseus took place here in Jaffa. The myth says the port was plagued by a giant sea monster and every year they sacrificed the city's most beautiful maiden. One year Andromeda was selected and tied to one of the rocks. Perseus riding on pegasus rescued her and killed the sea monster.

We walked from Jaffa over to Tel Aviv. I didn't take as many pictures in Tel Aviv. When ended our tour in the local craft fair that happens every Friday. I did take pictures of the craft fair. These were puppets on strings. I think they are seahorses. The seahorses appear to be wearing lipstick which I thought was odd.

Colorful hand made toys. Many of the vendors had signs that said do not touch in multiple languages.

This craft fair even had live entertainment. This guy really surprised me. Guess what genre of music he was singing? The answer Italian Opera....and he was really good. When I first heard him I thought one of the stands had a radio playing or something then I saw him. Wow. Notice the guy bending down near the motorcycle....that's a painting on the wall.

Just around the corner from the opera singer there was an escape artist. After getting out of this knotted mess, he had a tourist strap him in a straight jacket.

These ladies were selling a wrap with some kind of cream cheese,pesto and something else in it. It smelled really good but I wasn't hungry at the time.  I hope you enjoyed the tour!


  1. Gosh Anna, you really covered a lot in this post. I'm sad you had such a bad headache on this tour. I hope you get a chance to go back sometime and drink in all of the sights you showed us. I think this is one of my top two favorite posting of yours. You do such a great job of immersing us in the culture and beautiful sights! Thanks so much!

  2. Pictures of Tel Aviv and Jaffa are just beautiful. The sky and water are intense blue. To me the Israeli state bird Hoopoe looks like the red headed woodpecker. Your explanation of the history and architecture with references to the Bible really add that special touch. The sunlight is so bright in the pictures it's no wonder you had a migraine by the time you got back. The seahorse puppets were unique. Always enjoy your blog because it makes me feel like I'm along on the tour.


  3. It occurred to me to look into the name 'Tel Aviv'. Wiki says its "Spring Mound". I would ask you if there's a a hill with a spring gushing forth, or maybe a big pile of car suspension parts but the guy who named the town was less literal than the ancients. Jaffa supposedly means "Beautiful". That's a really nice name for a town. I think there ought to be a "Beatiful" in every state and every country.

    Your words and your pictures are beautiful.