Yaffa, Israel

Like Jerusalem, Jaffa is a place where Arab, Jewish and Christian cultures mix. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into a single municipality in 1950.

Theories vary about the etymology of Jaffa or Yafo in Hebrew. Some believe that the name derives from yafah or yofi, Hebrew for “beautiful” or “beauty”.  Another tradition is that Japheth, son of Noah, founded the city and that it was named after him.

Jaffa Port
Jaffa Port in 1906
View of Jaffa, from the beachfront of Tel Aviv.
View of Jaffa, from the beachfront of Tel Aviv.
Boats waiting to take passangers ashore at Jaffa. Circa 1911.
Boats waiting to take passangers ashore at Jaffa. Circa 1911.

The ancient port of Jaffa changed hands many times in the course of history. Archeological excavations from 1955 to 1974 unearthed towers and gates from the Middle Bronze Age. Remnants of buildings from the Persian and Hellenistic  periods were also discovered. The city, Jaffa, is first mentioned in letters from 1470 BC that record its conquest by Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. Jaffa is mentioned several times in the Bible, as the Jaffa Port at which the wood for Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem arrived from Lebanon.

Jaffa was captured by Saladin in 1192 but swiftly re-taken by Richard the Lionheart, who added to its defenses. Crusader domination ended in 1268, when the Mamluk Sultan Baibars captured the town, destroyed its harbor and razed its fortifications. In the 16th century, Jaffa was conquered by the Ottomans and was administered as a village in the Sanjak of Gaza. Napoleon besieged the city in 1799 and killed scores of inhabitants; a plague epidemic followed, decimating the remaining population. The surrendering garrison of several thousand Muslims was massacred

Photo of surrender of Jaffa to New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade in 1920.
Photo of surrender of Jaffa to New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade in 1920.
Gustav Bauernfeind: Market at Jaffa, 1877 painting
Gustav Bauernfeind: Market at Jaffa, 1877 painting

Jaffa Municipal Building before 1917 or earlier. This photo appeared in the January 1918 journal "The War"
Jaffa Municipal Building before 1917 or earlier. This photo appeared in the January 1918 journal “The War”
Jaffa Municipality (Seraya) building now. The corner of the Jaffa Clocktower is seen on the right.
Jaffa Municipality (Seraya) building now. The corner of the Jaffa Clocktower is seen on the right.

Jewish pre-school, c. 1890s
Jewish pre-school, c. 1890s

450px-Alley_in_Jaffa

Jaffa Clock Tower just before sunset.  This is one of seven clock towers built in Israel during the Ottoman period. The tower was built to commemorate the silver jubilee of the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Hamid II. The tower was built with contributions of the residents of the city, Arabs and Jews, headed by Joseph Bey Moyal.
Jaffa Clock Tower just before sunset. This is one of seven clock towers built in Israel during the Ottoman period. The tower was built to commemorate the silver jubilee of the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Hamid II. The tower was built with contributions of the residents of the city, Arabs and Jews, headed by Joseph Bey Moyal.
St. Peter's church, Jaffa
St. Peter’s church, Jaffa

Sabil Abu Nabbut

Sabil Abu Nabbut (Arabic: سبيل أبو نبوت‎) also known as Tabitha’s Well is a public fountain (“sabil”) in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel, constructed during the Ottoman era in Palestine. Its main purpose was to facilitate the journey between Jaffa and Jerusalem.

Sabil Abu Nabbut, old postcard from the British Mandate of Palestine -period.
Sabil Abu Nabbut, old postcard from the British Mandate of Palestine -period.

Abu_Nabut_Trough4

Mahmoudiya Mosque

The Mahmoudiya Mosque (Arabic: جامع المحمودية‎) is the largest and most significant mosque in Jaffa, now part of the larger city of Tel Aviv. Initial construction of the Mahmoudiya Mosque is said to have occurred in 1730 on the orders of governor Sheikh Muhammad al-Khalili.

View of the mosque from a Jaffa street
View of the mosque from a Jaffa street
The Minaret
The Minaret

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