Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s oldest neighborhood, will delight you with its breathtaking buildings, elegant alleyways and hipster inhabitants.
Should you want to take a charming detour from Tel Aviv’s intoxicating edginess, you’re cordially invited to spend a few minutes strolling the streets of this bustling international metropolis’s oldest neighborhood – Neve Tzedek.
Located just south of the Yemenite Quarter, this nook is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas in Tel Aviv. Neve Tzedek (Dwellings of Justice) was established in 1887, 22 years before Tel Aviv was even founded, by a small group of Jewish families seeking to move outside of the over-crowded port city of Jaffa.
By the beginning of the 20th century, Neve Tzedek had become the home of many artists and writers, including Nobel Prize-winning author S.Y. Agnon.
In 1914, the Eden Theater, the first cinema in pre-state Israel, was up and running in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv. However, while Tel Aviv was busy expanding to the north and east in the early days of the state, Neve Tzedek was allowed to deteriorate, with old houses and streets literally crumbling away.
Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv: the Revival
Only in the 1980s did the neighborhood recapture its former glory, and it has since become a stylish residence with plenty of restaurants, galleries and designer shops. Made up of about a dozen tiny streets crammed with one- and two-story dwellings in various stages of renovation, Neve Tzedek’s rich history is constantly being discovered and celebrated by modern architects and designers. In recent years, beautiful old buildings have been lovingly restored.
The gorgeous architecture, packed within quiet narrow lanes, along with the relaxed manner of the neighborhood’s residents, make the neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv a gem of a place to spend an afternoon.
Though bordered on three sides by major thoroughfares, Neve Tzedek is surprisingly – and refreshingly – tranquil. On your visit, make sure to check out the beautiful Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater, located in the heart of Neve Tzedek. Surrounded by lovely gardens and a splendid piazza, this complex is home to two of Israel’s premier dance companies.
Though renovated, rebuilt and refurbished, Neve Tzedek manages to retain its timeless charm. Aside from gorgeous villas, you could still find families that have been living there for generations in crumbling homes – and who refuse to sell for any price.
It is this deep attachment to the old neighborhood that keeps Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv firmly grounded in a colorful past, even as it embraces a boundless future.
Author: Gidon Ben-Zvi, Staff Writer, United with Israel