Stroll the length of Tel Aviv on HaTayelet boardwalk, take in centuries old Jaffa Port and bask in the sun’s rays at the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordering Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. It is the lowest point of dry land in the world. The high level of salt in the water makes swimming feel more like floating and the mineral rich mud provides health benefits for arthritis, chronic pain and skin conditions. Plants and animals cannot live near the body of water; however, jackals, leopards and birds live in the surrounding area as an established nature preserve. The Dead Sea has been shrinking rapidly and Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian State are working to combat the erosion.
The Dead Sea can be seen from Masada, a mountain fortress built by King Herod in the first century BCE. It is believed Sodom and Gomorra stood on the Southeastern shore of the sea before being destroyed in the Book of Genesis. The Essenes of Qumran, who lived in caves overlooking the Dead Sea in the first century BCE, left an extensive religious library known as the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the 1940s.
Jaffa Port is an ancient port on the Mediterranean Sea with cobbled stone lanes and buildings reminiscent of Old Jerusalem. It serves as a fishing harbor and tourist destination with hangars converted in to art galleries, a Farmer’s Market, and fresh seafood. The ancient water break made up of stones called Andromeda Rocks can be seen submerged in the sea and from high up in the port area, one can see St. Peter’s Church.
For over 7,000 years Jaffa Port has been an active harbor for immigrants, armies and traders predating all three major religions. It is the site where Jonah is believed to have set off in his famous Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale. During WWI, British troops defeated the Ottoman Empire and incorporated Jaffa in the British Mandate. In 1947, fighting broke out among Arabs in Jaffa and Jews in Tel Aviv until the two cities were united in 1950.
This beautiful boardwalk, also called the Tel Aviv Promenade, stretches the length of Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean Sea from old Jaffa to Tel Aviv harbor. HaTayelet boasts street performers and a spectacular seaside view and is packed daily with jogger and cyclists.
The boardwalk was built in the 1930s to separate bathing and recreational beach areas. After WWI, the British Mandate prohibited bathing at beaches, and as sewage began being dumped in to the sea, local beaches were abandoned. Gambling, bars and brothels took over the area until the 1980s when the district treatment facility began diverting sewage to its plant and the beach was restored and expanded.