Orange tree and symbolic whale
The old part of Jaffa has been reconstructed and turned into a tourist center. Here are the workshops of artists, galleries, souvenir shops. But even after restoration, the ancient streets of the city remained alive and colorful.
Of course, the sights of the new time were not without. You definitely need to go to the art salon at the workshop of Frank Meisler. The unique products of this artist made of metal have gained worldwide fame. The price of the sculptures is very expensive, but you can simply admire the figures made with humor.
Not far from the salon is another modern miracle – the “soaring orange tree”, the creation of Rana Morina. This is a real tree, which in 1993 was planted in a clay egg suspended from chains. Since then it has been growing there.
The guides interpret in different ways what the artist had in mind. Someone will report that the author sought to show the contradictions between the natural world and man. Another tells a banal story about how a master wanted to plant a tree, but the municipality did not give him permission to do this. Then the artist made a large pot, planted an orange and attached it with chains to the walls of the house. And here is what our guide told us – Vladislav Sokolovsky. According to him, once he accidentally met an artist and asked what he had in mind when creating a sculpture? And the master answered: “Absolutely nothing!”. And, indeed, why do we need to look for some meaning in what is beautiful in itself.
But then this sculpture depicting a whale is quite symbolic. According to biblical tradition, when the prophet Jonah tried to escape from God, opposing God’s task, he boarded a ship in the port of Jaffa and sailed to Tarsis. But, alon biblical tradition, when the prophet Jonahg the way a storm broke out, the ship sank, and the prophet was swallowed by a huge whale. Three days later, the whale spat it back to Jaffa shore. And then the prophet realized that it was impossible to escape what the Almighty ordered to do and went to prophesy to Nineveh, as was prescribed to him by the Lord.
The center of Jaffa is considered to be the Clock Square, from which the streets leading to different ends of the city depart. Since 1906, there has been a square tower on it, on each side of which a clock is mounted.
Kikar Kdumim – the area of antiquities. Here to this day archaeological excavations are ongoing. For all time, several cultural layers were discovered that belong to the ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods.
In the center of the excavations, the ancient Egyptian gates of Pharaoh Ramses II were reconstructed. Actually, they just show how those real gates looked. Authentic in the “new building” are only the side posts.
Perhaps the most beautiful place in the city with a beautiful view of Tel Aviv and the sea is the observation deck with the sculpture “The Gate of Faith”, built in 1977 by sculptor Daniel Kafri. Three of its components illustrate subjects on biblical themes: the dream of Jacob, the sacrifice of Isaac, and the fall of Jericho.
Before going to Kikar Kdumim, there is the Church of St. Peter (Knesiyat saint Petrus) – the main Franciscan church of the city, the history of which is connected with the period of the reign of the crusaders. The current building was built in 1888 on a foundation that has been preserved from more ancient times.
Inside the temple is a typical Catholic cathedral with a lush and rich interior. From the platform in front of him there is a beautiful view of the old port and the rock, to which, according to legend, Andromeda was chained. By the way, the ancient port today looks rather abandoned. It is popular only with local fishermen. However, the port and embankment of Jaffa are gradually being reconstructed, they are waiting for another revival.
Even a simple walk through the romantic Jaffa is a great pleasure, and here the locals came up with a kind of entertainment for tourists. The fact is that part of the old streets bears the names of the zodiac signs. It is believed that if a guest arriving in Jaffa walks along the street bearing the name of his sign and makes a wish, then it will certainly come true. If someone still can’t find “their” street, then he is unlikely to pass by a small neat bridge over the highway. This beautiful engineering structure is called the “bridge of lovers” or the “bridge of desires.” All zodiac symbols are attached to its railing. And here it is, the “lost one”, finally, will be able to make a secret desire.
After enjoying the beauty of the old city, go to the “flea market” where you can buy literally everything – from second-class consumer goods to the most valuable antiques.
A rare tourist wanders to the outskirts of Jaffa. It’s a pity! Here, not far from Eilat Street, a picturesque quarter, built up with wooden and stone houses, is hidden – this is an American-German colony created by Christian immigrants in Eretz Yisrael in 1866.
The architecture of the house depended on the taste of its owner, but the ground floor, as a rule, was typical, it was occupied by workrooms: shops, workshops, offices.