18 May 2015

Hobnobbing in the Holy Land: Old Jaffa

Old Jaffa is perhaps the first place in Israel where I took out my camera and took pictures. As we arrived on a Saturday, it was Shabbat, and we simply met up with friends during that day. The next day, however, we headed out to go sight-seeing, and Old Jaffa was the place where we began.

Jaffa is the southernmost part of the city of Tel Aviv. This area used to be a port city, and is famous for its association with the Biblical stories of Jonah and Peter, as well as the mythological associations with Andromeda and Perseus. Nowadays, it is not the main port of the country, but there is still a significant amount of activity that are water-related.

What struck me as most memorable was its Old Town. It is a collection of stone structures linked together by a network of narrow streets. You can see the narrow streets from my photos below.

It was interesting exploring this area, as we would simply wander around, with no regard where a certain path would lead us. Sometimes a window revealed the interior of an art gallery, sometimes there was a wine store. And sometimes, there was a small church where entry was forbidden unless you knock properly, upon which the door would immediately open only to close immediately afterwards.

Jaffa has a significant Arab population. In fact, one of the most prominent views one would see upon arrival from the north is the minaret of the al-Bahr Mosque, which is right by the seashore. This minaret is seen in my photos below.

Plenty of Arabs still reside here, and they contribute to the colorful nature of the markets that are found in town.

One thing I forgot to mention, is that when I was strolling along the narrow streets of the Old Town, I saw these interesting doors. They have ceramic markers, and they are just a curious thing to look at. You'll see more of what I mean in the pictures below.

I don't exactly know what they mean, but they looked interesting to look at, so I took some photos of them.

Finally, there are plenty of other things to see in Jaffa. There are a couple of museums as well as churches. I went to the Ilana Goor Museum, which I will tackle in more detail in a future post. But for now, let me end with some of the other photos I took, including that of a hanging tree from a suspended pot.

Jaffa was an interesting place. The only regret I had was not returning there during the evening at nighttime, as they say the atmosphere is different. That being said, I still enjoyed my stay, and definitely recommend it to visitors to the area.


  1. In a way, it reminds me of Italy with less colours. It has a distinct Mediterranean yet "desert" feel.

    1. Zhu,

      Interesting you mentioned Italy. For me, it reminded me of Malta instead, and yes, Malta has less colors than Italy, as they typically use the local limestone that is available. All the buildings are this beige yellow color, something like Old Jaffa.