Tel Aviv, which recently celebrated its centennial, was founded in 1909. It grew out of Jaffa, an ancient port city, when Jewish residents of Jaffa decided to leave their cramped living quarters and build homes outside the city walls.
The first Jewish neighborhood constructed outside of Jaffa, and which would later become the oldest neighborhood in Tel Aviv, is Neve Tsedek, founded by Sephardic Jews in the 1880s.
Tel Aviv would eventually grow larger than its neighbor, Jaffa, and the two would later merge into a single municipality in 1950.
The name Tel Aviv, literally means spring mound and refers to the city’s new existence in an ancient land.
The city is also nicknamed the First Hebrew City, since it was founded entirely by Jews - as opposed to other cities in Israel, which were founded by a combination of populations.
Although Jewish neighborhoods - such as Neve Tsedek and Kerem Hateymanim - existed in the area earlier, the official establishment of Tel Aviv is marked by the date in April 1909 when 66 Jewish families gathered on a sand dune - believed to be around Rothschild Boulevard’s current location - and parceled out the future city’s land.
White seashells with family names inscribed on them were used as lottery pieces. From the very beginning Tel Aviv was planned as a modern city with running water, street lights, and wide streets.
Tel Aviv played a significant role in the State of Israel’s history, since the Israeli Declaration of Independence took place here. It occurred at Meir Dizengoff’s - the legendary early mayor of Tel Aviv - home on Rothschild Boulevard, a site that is currently preserved as a museum.
Tel Aviv also served as the temporary governmental location for the State of Israel until it moved to Jerusalem in 1949.
Tel Aviv’s oldest streets are Herzl, Ahad Ha’am, Lilienblum and Rothschild Boulevard, Yehuda Halevi and so many of Tel Aviv’s oldest buildings can be found on these streets.