Jaffa Israel is one of the oldest cities in the world, just south of Tel Aviv and dating back to ancient times. This port city is part of the Tel Aviv Jaffa Municipality; the name is derived from a Jewish word meaning beautiful. Old Jaffa dates back to antiquity; not only was it an important religious setting, but it held a strategic military location at the top of a hill with a view of the coast.Today, many visitors enjoy the historic charm of Old Jaffa and the exciting energy of Tel Aviv Jaffa, one of the most popular Mediterranean destinations.
The history of Jaffa Israel is marked by conquest. The Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III hid warriors in baskets as a gift to the governor of the city, leading to its conquest in 1470 BC. Jaffa was under the rule of Egypt until 800 BC. In 701 BC, Jaffa was invaded by the king of Assyria. Babylonian occupation ensued, followed by Persia, Alexander the Great, Maccabeans, and the Romans, who massacred more than 8,000 people during the Jewish War.
Four times, Old Jaffa is mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible, in the books of Joshua, Jonah, Ezra, and Chronicles. Kings David and Solomon used the port of entry for imported timber to build temples.In the Acts of the Apostles, it is written that Peter performs the miracle of the resurrection of Tabatha, the widow, in Jaffa. Again, he receives a vision from God here, expressing that there should be no discrimination between the Jews and the Gentiles.
After the death of Jesus, the city remained a location of turmoil, sought after by nearly every great nation of the time. From Roman rule, the Arabians captured the city, turning it into the provincial capital, then the Crusaders arrived, taking over Jaffa; it became part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, each army signing a treaty of peace for three years. Less than a year later, it was captured by the Egyptians again, sending it into another period of turbulence.
During the rule of the Ottoman Empire, churches and hostels returned to the area for pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem and Galilee, but unrest was nowhere near at an end. Pirates waylaid ships in the harbor, and Napoleon I overran Jaffa. Finally, during the British order, the Arabs led riots and pogroms against the Jews until they fled to the neighboring city, Tel Aviv. Today, the city is part of the Tel Aviv Jaffa Municipality, and is a much quieter city than the bustling Tel Aviv; the population is a diverse mix of Jewish, Christian, and Arabic citizens, and Jaffa Israel is being renovated, while modern buildings are being constructed in the newer parts of the city.
In the city, there are several interesting attractions, including the charming wishing bridge in Jaffa. On the railings of the bridge, you will find the various zodiac signs, and at one end of the bridge is a beautiful mosaic. It is said that if you stand on the bridge, facing the sea, and hold your zodiac sign, the wish you make will come true. Other great places to visit during your visit to Jaffa include Old Jaffa; St. Peter’s Catholic Church, which also served as a hostel where Napoleon stayed; the Ramesses Gate; and the Zodiac alleys leading to the port, the clock tower, and the outdoor local flea market.
Many travelers make it a point to visit Jaffa, especially those that are in Tel Aviv. The majority of visitors reserve hotels in Tel Aviv and visit Jaffa on a day trip, but there are several pleasing accommodations in Jaffa, including the Old Jaffa Hotel, which offers comfortable accommodations and unique amenities such as chirping birds in the hallways and morning tea or coffee and cookies. Getting to Jaffa is fairly simple from Tel Aviv; of course you could hop a taxi or drive there if you have a rental car, but the most scenically beautiful and popular route is by way of the sea. On the shores of Tel Aviv, there is a promenade; visitors can walk south from the center of town following the beach until they reach the outskirts of the historical town.
If you are in the area of Tel Aviv, a visit to the quiet Jaffa is definitely in order, make plans for a special wish the just might come true. Don't miss out on the Jaffa Flea Market, a charming open and covered flea market open on Sundays, Thursdays, and Fridays; this is a great way to spend the day getting to know the locals and engaging in a bit of bargaining. Travelers can find tours of Israel which include the best parts of Jaffa.