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Israel tour guide > Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv - "The city that never stops!"

Less than a century old Tel Aviv is a bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis in stark contrast to the antiquated Jerusalem. This vibrant modern city, founded in 1909 as one of the first new settlements, has become the largest city in Israel. The Kneset may be in Jerusalem, but many of the foreign embassies are to be found in Tel Aviv - the financial, business, sporting and entertainment centre of the country.

The city straddles miles of superb beach and, with its sun worshippers, street cafes and tree lined boulevards, the temperament is an unmistakably Mediterranean one. Jews, from every corner of the globe, have settled here bringing with them their culture and cuisine giving the city an enviable diversity of restaurants. The Diaspora Museum, with its remarkable collection of archive footage and photographs records Jewish culture in exile. If you are still searching for culture then the Tel Aviv Museum of Art exhibits an interesting assemblage of Jewish and Israeli artists including Chagall and many lesser-known, but talented painters.

Tel Aviv is really famous for two things: the beach and the most pulsating nightlife in Israel. Fabulous art deco hotels and chic condos overlook the promenade stretching the length of the golden sands, where sun worshippers soak up the glorious rays. As in other Mediterranean cities the locals prefer to sip cappuccinos in cafes during the day so bars and clubs really only come alive after midnight when the heart of the city beats to every imaginable rhythm. The city has its fair share of chart-hit discos and dance-techno-house clubs as

well as bars that play Israeli folk music. There is also a reggae venue and a Brazilian Salsa club. For a more relaxing evening Tel Aviv has an excellent theatre scene and is home to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and New Israel Opera House.

Jaffa, a suburb of Tel Aviv, is the only part of the city that predates the twentieth century. This ancient settlement is recorded as Joppa in Egyptian sources as long ago as the fifteenth century BC. It is also mentioned in the both the Old and New Testaments. Jonah started his ill-fated journey from here, and Saint Peter visited when he was spreading the gospel. Today the city, a major tourist attraction, is preserved as it would have been centuries ago. The Museum of Jaffa Antiquities boasts a skeleton from the fourth century BC.

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