Built in 1916 by the governor of Yafa (Jaffa), his namesake mosque is the sole surviving structure from Manshiyeh, the Arab/Palestinian neighbourhood of Yafa that was completely destroyed and had its inhabitants displaced by Jewish militias during the formation of Israel in 1947-1948. This is why this old mosque stands awkwardly in the middle of a vast open area with a few modern towers next to it. The mosque was lucky to survive demolition and its ownership was returned to the Arabs who managed to restore and reopen it. Despite all the tensions in Israel, it was a pleasant surprise to see a functioning mosque in the middle of Tel Aviv, but then again, it is the most open and tolerant city in Israel. From an architectural perspective, the mosque is quite beautiful and combines features from Levantine, Crusader, and Ottoman styles.
These ruins are of an old Palestinian house from Manshiyeh, the northern Yafa (Jaffa) Arab/Palestinian neighbourhood that was completely destroyed by Jewish forces upon the formation of Israel in 1947-1948. The ruins were incorporated into a modern glass structure, the Beit Gidi Etzel Museum. Ironically and rather bizarrely, the museum is dedicated to Irgun, a terrorist group (as defined by the international community because of responsibility over numerous terrorist attacks, including the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem). Irgun is also responsible for the destruction of the neighbourhood and the very house in which the museum is located! Irgun eventually became the Likud political party, dominant in today's Israeli politics.
Jaffa, the orginal arab city is now a historic neighborhood in the southern part of Tel Aviv. The site has been inhabited since 7500 BC and was first mentioned in Egyptian texts. The architecture seen today mostly dates from the Ottoman period.
Jaffa is claimed to be the oldest port in the world and was founded by Japhet, the son of biblical Noah. Early Egytian records show that it was conquered by Thutmose III in 1468 BCE. Similarly, archeological excavations in in old Jaffa have uncovered the the name of Ramses II, and was then in control of the Philistines. The Dan tribe settled briefly in Jaffa shortly after the Israelite conquest of Canaan. Later, conquered by King David, cedar trees from Jaffa were used in the building of King Solomon's original Temple in Jerusalem around 950 BCE. Archeological discoveries have shown remains from a Canaanite city, a Jewish city built at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, a third century BCE wall, a statue of Aphrodite, Hasmonean ruins, and traces of Roman occupation. Following the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BCE, Jaffa came under the control of the Phoenecians and then the Greeks. It was these Hellenistic residents of the city who loaded the small Jewish community in boats and sank them during the Maccabean revolt in 165 BCE.
The Crusaders, also came through Jaffa. Richard the Lion-Hearted built a citadel that was promptly taken away by Saladin's brother.The city regained its importance as a port in the nineteenth century. In the maze of streets the Armenian convent that served as a hospital for Napoleon's troops is still present. Napoleon stopped in Jaffa on his campaign through the country and, according to some sources, ordered 4,000 wounded soldiers to facilitate his withdrawal from the area...
In 1909, a group of Jews from Jaffa ,decided that they wanted to leave the narrow crowded streets of the town. They bought a stretch of sand dunes north of Jaffa and called it Ahuzat bayit, which became Tel Aviv. Soon Jaffa became a small village in comparison to the rapidly developing Tel Aviv area, which received city status in 1934. In 1950, Jaffa and Tel Aviv were officially combined into one city....
This mineret of the mosque in Yaffo makes a fantastic centerpiece for a picture of the ocean.
What I found out about the Mosque, historically was:
The Mahmoudia Mosque is the largest mosque in Jaffa, and bears the name of its founder, Jaffa's governor, Muhammad Abu Nabbut..
The Mosque was rebuilt over the foundations of an earlier mosque in the years 1812-1814. The mosque structures are arranged around three inner courtyards. The mosque was decorated with ancient marble pillars brought to Jaffa from Caesarea and Ashkelon, and placed in the mosque upside down with their heads to the ground, which created an inner courtyard surrounded by a harborico of pillars with arches between them.
The large courtyard leads to the mosque structures including the hexagonal minaret and the large prayer hall. The main entrance to the mosque is from its southern side, above which is a plaque noting the year 1227 of the Hijra (1812). Other gates lead to the mosque compound – one leads to the old Sarayah house and the other to the Clock Square. This gate is known as the “Ruler’s Gate”, as it is the one through which the rulers of the city entered the mosque from the new Sarayah house across the road. This is the grandest gate, and it includes byzantine elements incorporated in it and Ottoman decorative elements of the empire’s symbol – the star and the crescent.
In the southern wall of the mosque is installed Sabil Suleiman, whose shape is a large arc that incorporates white marble stones and pink granite. The sabil is named after Suleiman Pasha, ruler of Acre and the commander of Abu Nabbut.
You can check out other Jaffo/Yaffo/Jafa sites at:
Roaming Old Jaffa and the beautiful parks and gardens around it is probably one of the more authentic things there is to do in this city, it's right near the beautiful harbor and very close to the AWESOME flee market.
If the temperature isn’t really high you may want to climb up to Gan ha-Midron and Summit parks, both of them located at the top of the Old Town of Jaffa. There are many nice spots where you can have nice view over the sea and Tel Aviv’s skyline near its long beach with the high rise buildings etc
There are several benches where you can rest for a while but also some interesting sculptures, monuments, cannons from Napoleon era etc The most interesting is the the white sculpture The Gate of Faith (pic 2) that shows biblical scenes from the Old Testament, a nice spot to take picture if you can wait for the rest of the tourists that usually want to do the same :)
Part of summit park is shaped like an amphitheater, it’s a place that houses many oper air concerts during the summer months, a great free to do activity if you happen to be there in summer.
Walking around the Old Town of Jaffa a journey through time, the old stone houses and the maze of the narrow passages with several arches worth it for sure even if you have to walk up the steep hill. The alleys near the port are more busy of course but as you go higher you’ll probably be alone with isolated picturesque corners, what a contrast with the busy/noisy streets of Tel Aviv earlier that day in the morning.
But one of the best/weird moments when we reached the edge of an alley that lead us to the strange structure you see here (pics 1-2). Built in 1993 by Ran Morin this is a weird artificial sculpture with stone and steel repressing a hanging orange tree! The sign on the wall gives some historical info about the Jaffa oranges (pic 3)
The Jaffa tales presents over 5000 years of Jaffa history of this ancient harbour town.
Ma-Th: 9AM - 8PM (5PM in Winter)
Fr: 9AM - 5PM (3PM in Winter)
Sa-Su: 9AM - 8PM (5PM in Winter)
Entry is by advance invitation or on the basis of available space; reservation recommended.
St. Peter's Church in Old Jaffa ia a Roman Catholic Church built in 1654.
In the second half of the 18th century the church was twice destroyed and reconstructed again, the last time from 1888 till 1894; in 1903 the building was renovated.
The church is open to the public daily: 8AM - 11:45AM and 3PM - 5PM.
The Saraia House was part of the Ottaman government complex that was build just outside the old Jaffa city walls. The building was home to Turkish governor and construction was completed in 1897.
In 1948 most of the complex was blown up.
Later the Governor's residence and its facade were reconstructed.
The Jaffa clock tower was built with limestone during the Ottoman period; construction started in 1900 and it took 3 years to complete the building.
In 1965 the Tower was renovated, new clocks were installed and colorful mosaic windows designed by Arie Koren were added.
The Jaffa Clock Tower stands in the middle of Yefet street at the northern entrance of Jaffa.