Posts Tagged ‘Lonely Planet Israel’

Tel Aviv: Officially the third best city in the world

It’s Official. Tel Aviv is one of the top ten cities in the world. Number three, according to Lonely Planet, the organization that produces the indispensable travel guides which any self-respecting traveler can’t be seen without. Yes, Lonely Planet knows a thing or two about what’s hot around the globe and for them Tel Aviv is sizzling along nicely right now.Tel Aviv is the complete opposite of Israel’s other major city and tourist draw, Jerusalem. Instead of holy sites there are more clubs, bars, party venues and deck chairs than you can shake a Goldstar beer at. But you gotta know Hebrew if you want to party!But it’s not just the partying that makes Tel Aviv great. The city’s unique architecture, thriving cultural and artistic life and gastronomic prowess are all features in Lonely Planet’s lavish praise of the city.To start with, there’s the world famous Bauhaus architecture of Tel Aviv’s White City. Designed by German-Jewish artists who fled Germany in the 1930s, Tel Aviv has the largest number of these elegantly-fashioned buildings in the world. This unique cultural treasure was recognized by the cultural arm of the UN, UNESCO, when it designated White City as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 2003.Then there’s Tel Aviv’s amazingly vibrant and diverse cultural scene. The Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center is the home of the Israeli Opera which stages classical and Israeli operas with internationally renowned conductors, musicians and artists as well as accomplished Israeli opera artists.The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, established in 1932, is another big cultural draw, housing the works of some of the most prominent Impressionist and twentieth century artists. Paintings by Degas, Matisse, Renoir and Picasso hang in the museum and Van Gogh’s stunning work, The Shepherdess, is one of its crown jewels. Whether you’re into Expressionism, Modernism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, or Impressionism you will be impressed with this artistic Mecca.The history of Tel Aviv is also the history of the Zionist movement. Jews returning to the holy land started settling in the Tel Aviv region at the beginning of the Zionist endeavor. Yemenite Jews who arrived in 1881 began building homes and markets there and this neighborhood still forms the central part of the התימנים כרם (Kerem HaTeimanim – literally Vineyard of the Yemenites) neighborhood today. Jews from Russia fleeing persecution came and built the beautiful neighborhood of נווה צדק (Neve Tzedek) in 1887. Menachem Begin hid from the British authorities in Tel Aviv during the period of the revolt against British rule, and the Israeli Declaration of Independence was signed in what is now Independence Hall in the heart of Tel Aviv.All of these historic events can be relived today by visiting the various museums in Tel Aviv dedicated to preserving the memory of those times.And of course, the crowning glory: Ulpan-Or’s learning facilities in Tel Aviv. If you’re sufficiently inspired by this party-and-cultural-fest of a city to visit it, be sure to connect further with the city’s Zionist roots by learning some of the lingo in one of Ulpan-Or’s Hebrew language courses. Whether you want to pick up some basics (like “can you make me a Cosmopolitan” – basic language in Tel Aviv at least) or to learn some serious Hebrew in a more intensive language course, Ulpan-Or will definitely be able to accommodate you.You can even learn Hebrew while you’re checking out Tel Aviv’s sites and sounds. Ulpan-Or’s “Hebrew to Go” program combines a two-hour ulpan lesson of intense Hebrew conversation with a trip to a museum, art gallery or other attraction.


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