Tel Aviv-Yafo (Hebrew: תֵּל־אָבִיב–יָפוֹ – Tel Aviv-Yafo [tel aˈviv ˈjafo]; Arabic: تَلّ أَبِيب – يَافَا – Tall ʾAbīb – Yāfā), often referred to as just Tel Aviv, is the most populous city in the Gush Dan metropolitan area of Israel. Located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline and with a population of 460,613, it is the economic and technological center of the country. If East Jerusalem is considered part of Israel, Tel Aviv is the country’s second most populous city after Jerusalem; if not, Tel Aviv is the most populous city before West Jerusalem.
Tel Aviv is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, headed by Mayor Ron Huldai, and is home to many foreign embassies. It is a alpha world city and is ranked 25th in the Global Financial Centres Index. Tel Aviv has the third- or fourth-largest economy and the largest economy per capita in the Middle East. The city has the 31st highest cost of living in the world. Tel Aviv receives over 2.5 million international visitors annually. A “party capital” in the Middle East, it has a lively nightlife and 24-hour culture. Tel Aviv has been called The World’s Vegan Food Capital, as it possesses the highest per capita population of vegans in the world, with many vegan eateries throughout the city. Tel Aviv is home to Tel Aviv University, the largest university in the country with more than 30,000 students.
The city was founded in 1909 by the Yishuv (Jewish residents) as a modern housing estate on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa, then part of the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem within the Ottoman Empire. It was at first called ‘Ahuzat Bayit’ (lit. “House Estate” or “Homestead”), the name of the association which established the neighbourhood. Its name was changed the following year to ‘Tel Aviv’, after the biblical name Tel Abib adopted by Nahum Sokolow as the title for his Hebrew translation of Theodor Herzl’s 1902 novel Altneuland (“Old New Land”). Other Jewish suburbs of Jaffa established before Tel Aviv eventually became part of Tel Aviv, the oldest among them being Neve Tzedek (est. 1886) Tel Aviv was given “township” status within the Jaffa Municipality in 1921, and became independent from Jaffa in 1934. After the 1947–1949 Palestine war Tel Aviv began the municipal annexation of parts of Jaffa, fully unified with Jaffa under the name “Tel Aviv” in April 1950, and was renamed to “Tel Aviv-Yafo” in August 1950.
Immigration by mostly Jewish refugees meant that the growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced that of Jaffa, which had a majority Arab population at the time.Tel Aviv and Jaffa were later merged into a single municipality in 1950, two years after the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which was proclaimed in the city. Tel Aviv’s White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world’s largest concentration of International Style buildings, including Bauhaus and other related modernist architectural styles.
The walled city of Jaffa was the only inhabited part of what is now Tel Aviv in early modern times. Jaffa was an important port city in the region for millennia. Archaeological evidence shows signs of human settlement there starting in roughly 7,500 BC. The city was established around 1,800 BC at the latest. Its natural harbour has been used since the Bronze Age. By the time Tel Aviv was founded as a separate city during Ottoman rule of the region, Jaffa had been ruled by the Canaanites, Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Phoenicians, Ptolemies, Seleucids, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, the early Islamic caliphates, Crusaders, Ayyubids, and Mamluks before coming under Ottoman rule in 1515. It had been fought over numerous times. The city is mentioned in ancient Egyptian documents, as well as the Hebrew Bible.
Other ancient sites in Tel Aviv include: Tell Qasile, Tel Gerisa, Abattoir Hill. Tel Hashash and Tell Qudadi.
During the First Aliyah in the 1880s, when Jewish immigrants began arriving in the region in significant numbers, new neighborhoods were founded outside Jaffa on the current territory of Tel Aviv. The first was Neve Tzedek, founded in 1887 by Mizrahi Jews due to overcrowding in Jaffa and built on lands owned by Aharon Chelouche. Other neighborhoods were Neve Shalom (1890), Yafa Nof (1896), Achva (1899), Ohel Moshe (1904), Kerem HaTeimanim (1906), and others. Once Tel Aviv received city status in the 1920s, those neighborhoods joined the newly formed municipality, now becoming separated from Jaffa.
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