According to Christian
legend, Jaffa was named after Noah's son, Japhet, who built it after
the Flood. There are others who believe that the name derives from
the Hebrew word "Yofi" - beauty. From archaeological discoveries and
ancient documents we learn that Jaffa existed as a port city some
4,000 years ago, serving Egyptian and Phoenician sailors in their
Historians believe that Jaffa is the only port in the world which
can boast uninterrupted inhabitation throughout its entire existence.
The biblical account mentions that the cedars from Lebanon for the
construction of King Solomon's Temple came in via Jaffa. Jonah departed
from this city in his flight from God. Greek legend tells of the chaining
of the beautiful Andromeda to the rocks facing Jaffa's shore. Simon
the Tanner lived in Jaffa, and it was here that the Apostle Peter
performed a miracle. Roman legions, Richard the Lion Hearted, Napoleon
and Turkish sultans all conquered the city; but with the eclipse of
the Ottoman Empire, the city's vitality declined. Towards the end
of World War I, the city was conquered by General Allenby, ushering
in the period of the British Mandate.
The port of Jaffa,
(the sole port at the time) served as the point of entry for the increased
Jewish immigration which came to resettle the land. The Jews suffered
from pogroms and persecution at the hands of the Arabs. The attacks
reached a peak shortly before the declaration of the State of Israel
in May 1948. Jewish defensive actions led to the flight of most of
the city's Arabs, and shortly after that part of the city was settled
by impoverished Jewish families whom the war had left homeless.
The poverty of
the population threatened the continuation of active life in Jaffa
as a thriving city. In 1968, the Government of Israel and the Tel
Aviv-Jaffa Municipality decided to establish a corporation for the
Development of Old Jaffa, entrusting to it the task of averting the
total destruction of Old Jaffa's glorious past.
Old Jaffa has since become one of Israel's foal tourist attractions.
It is filled with artists' quarters, studios and art galleries. Shops
catering for Judaica, archaeology, jewelry aid art, line its narrow
alleys which are named after the signs of the Zodiac.
Visitors from both
Israel and abroad enjoy dining in its unique restaurants or simply
wandering around. People seem to gaze in fascination at the sight
of the ancient Port and the rocks, and some are dumbstruck by the
beauty of the renovated Jaffa harbor set against the back drop of the city of Tel
Aviv -the first Jewish city in modern times - a vital, dynamic and
vibrant metropolis that never sleeps - and which has grown out of
Jaffa. Old Jaffa in itself is a quaint city, more picturesque than
ever, with romantic paths and gardens. All this, together with the
Mediterranean's sun-drenched waves and the special lighting effects
at night, serve to excite and arouse the senses and the soul.
Hatachana Complex, is a renovated historical site, now with shops and other attractions on the border of Jaffa and Tel Aviv.
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