Known as one of the oldest ports in the world with a history that dates back to biblical times, the Old Port of Jaffa is like a well-preserved time capsule.
Throughout history, it was considered an important strategic place and the main gateway to Israel, and therefore was coveted and conquered by the Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Phoenicians and Greeks. The Old Testament describes the port in the book of Jonah, and Josephus mentions it in his account of Jewish history during Roman rule.
The port still stands to this day, but instead of prophets and cargo ships, its hangars now accommodate art galleries, restaurants, bars and organic markets with fresh local delicacies after an extensive restoration process that reincarnated the historic site into a lively cultural venue.
Boat trips out to sea and strolls through the charming alleys named for the Zodiac signs are two of the most popular Jaffa activities. Old Jaffa is also the entrance to the stairs that lead to the Old Jaffa Hill, where the picturesque St. Peter’s Franciscan church stands.
Photos: Courtesy of Israel Ministry of Tourism; Noam chen and Dana Friedlander