Tel Aviv: always springtime
Insolent, secular, and free, Tel Aviv is also precocious having only existed for a hundred years, it has already been classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What could be more natural? With the antique charms of Jaffa, it has the features of Andromeda and we, for her, the eyes of Perseus.
Tel Aviv in Hebrew means ‘Hill of Spring',and it wears the name well. Its population, a third of which is between 18 and 35 years old, have been happily enjoying her 14kilometres of beaches since the springtime of the 4,000-year-old Arab city of Jaffa, south of the city area. But far from being an Ibiza of the Middle East, the White City is classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 2003) for its Bauhaus architecture, which is unique in the world. The term ‘white city'entered architectural jargon following the eponymous exhibition on Bauhaus at the Museum of Modern Art in Tel Aviv in 1984.
It is a city that shines in its energy as well as in its relaxed lifestyle; it's an island of freedom because here, more than anywhere else, people know the sound of war. So they live in the present, in perpetual spring, truly abiding by Horace's famous ‘carpe diem'. The story, so young and so rich, started on April 11, 1909, when sixty-six families drew lots for plots of land to buy north of Jaffa. It is a secular city, wrote the poet David Shimonovitz ‘a mix of Berdichev (Ukraine) and Baghdad', which voluntarily presents itself as a fountain of youth.
Jaffa is the place to start to soak up the historical character, continuing on with Skeinkin and its very ‘Soho' atmosphere, before strolling around Neve Tzedek and its trendy addresses. Renting a bike is a great way to discover the countless cycling trails of Tayelet, and if you are athletic, a run along the beach will put you in the path of as many briefcases as surfboards. Fancy a dip in the waves, or do you prefer antiquing in Dizeng off Square? If you're struggling to find an effigy of Andromeda, you need only look up, and feel your wings spreadlike Perseus as you gaze upon the local youth.
Or walk on the old port of Jaffa. A few dozen meters from the shore, you will perceive Andromeda's rock, beaten by the waves. That's where the princess was chained, to appease the gods' wrath. In Tel Aviv too, mythology is front and centre.