Just over a hundred years old, Tel Aviv boasts many virtues. It is the economic and technological capital of Israel, as well as one of the most hedonistic cities in the world. It is prosperous, with a young population that, in addition to filling complexes and skyscrapers full of startups and companies of all kinds, also fill its many entertainment venues and the Tayelet beaches, the seafront promenade framed by the Mediterranean.

And such a young city also boasts of history. In 1909 Palestine was under a British mandate, and it was its authorities who commissioned the urban planner Sir Patrick Geddes, who had worked on the planning of New Delhi, to devise the master plan for the creation of a new city on the outskirts of Jaffa, a population that is already mentioned in the Bible and for which Napoleon himself did his thing. Geddes traced the urban fabric and the dimensions of the buildings that should fill the boulevards and avenues drawn in what, at that time, were dunes and marshes.A Bauhaus-style building in the city of Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv started to walk, and in a couple of decades, the city was already a reality. In those years between the wars, the West was experiencing a carefree prosperity in which everything -culture, customs, food – was redefined under the symbol of progress. Modernism flourished, exemplified by the Bauhaus school, founded in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius, and which proclaimed the democratization of design, the forgetting of tradition and the preponderance of function over form.

Minimalism

The Bauhaus style prioritizes functionality over form and promotes the abandonment of tradition

The dogmas of the school marked countless artists and creators of all disciplines, including architecture, and their echoes reached the brand new Tel Aviv. When the Nazis closed the school in 1933, many architects trained or influenced by it were forced to emigrate, and not a few chose the new city, where they would live and work under the parameters of the Bauhaus.

This is how, from the beginning of the 1930s to the end of the 1940s, what has come to be known as the White City of Tel Aviv, the largest group of Bauhaus-style buildings in the world, which UNESCO declared a World Heritage Site in 2003, and stretching from Ben-Gurion Boulevard in the north to the Gan HaHashmal neighborhood in the south. In those years more than 4,000 buildings were built, of which around 1,500 are preserved today, concentrated mostly around Rothschild, Bialik and Dizengoff boulevards.Tel Aviv, The White City.

These buildings share with each other the use of materials such as concrete or steel, as opposed to wood or stone; high ceilings and open spaces to the outside; and the suppression of interior separations. Ornamentally, they are simple, square, light coloured, starkly beautiful, with large windows next to square windows, flat roofs, and flat roof terraces from which to watch the sunsets over the Mediterranean.

In the surroundings of Rothschild Boulevard, the most important artery in Tel Aviv, buildings such as the Samuelson House, the Godelberg House and very close by, the Aginsky House, on Engel Street, and the Landa House, on Melchett Street, stand out.

UNESCO recognition

The White City is the largest conglomerate of Bauhaus buildings in the world, recognized as a World Heritage Site

On Bialik Street there are two essential addresses to appreciate Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus heritage: the Bauhaus Foundation (at number 21), where you can visit a showroom with Bauhaus-style furniture for free, and the Liebling Residence (at number 29) , also open to the public, and which houses, in addition to a residence for artists, exhibition halls.

The authentic “center” of the White City of Tel Aviv beats in Dizengoff Square. Planned in 1934 by the young architect Genia Averbouch, the Cinema Hotel is located here, a Bauhaus jewel that occupies the old Esther cinema. The establishment preserves the architecture and decoration of its previous use, and old movies are shown in the lobby.Tel Aviv, Israel.

A stone’s throw from the square, at number 77 Dizengoff Street, one of the most elegant and lively streets in the city, is the most iconic Bauhaus-style building in Tel Aviv: the Bauhaus Center (77 Dizengoff Street). Its exhibition halls show the history of the city and its artistic and architectural evolution, and it houses one of the largest specialized libraries in the world. On Dizengoff Street there are several of the best entertainment venues in Tel Aviv; and sitting on the terraces of Mila Bar (at 164) or Michal (at 230), enjoying the Mediterranean evening breeze while taking in the lively atmosphere, is an ideal finishing touch to Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus route.

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