White City of Tel-Aviv

Posted: June 14, 2009    Categories: Daily Photo, World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Site #64: White City of Tel-Aviv

White City of Tel-Aviv: My 64th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the White City of Tel-Aviv:

The city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 to the immediate north of the walled port city of Jaffa, on the hills along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. During the era of British rule in Palestine (1917-1948), it developed into a thriving urban center, becoming Israel’s foremost economic and metropolitan nucleus.

The serial property consists of three separate zones, the central White City, Lev Hair and Rothschild Avenue, and the Bialik Area, surrounded by a common buffer zone.

The White City of Tel Aviv can be seen as an outstanding example in a large scale of the innovative town-planning ideas of the first part of the 20th century. The architecture is a synthetic representation of some of the most significant trends of Modern Movement in architecture, as it developed in Europe. The White City is also an outstanding example of the implementation of these trends taking into account local cultural traditions and climatic conditions.

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed rapidly under the British Mandate in Palestine. The area of the White City forms its central part and is based on the urban master plan by Sir Patrick Geddes (1925-27), one of the foremost theorists in the early modern period. Tel Aviv is his only large-scale urban realization, not a ‘garden city’, but an urban entity of physical, economic, social and human needs based on an environmental approach. He developed such innovative notions as ‘conurbation’ and ‘environment’ and was a pioneer in his insight into the nature of the city as an organism constantly changing in time and space, as a homogeneous urban and rural evolving landscape. His scientific principles in town planning, based on a new vision of a ‘site’ and ‘region’, influenced urban planning in the 20th century internationally. These are issues that are reflected in his master plan of Tel Aviv.

I try to take at least one representative photo of each World Heritage site I visit. I had a difficult time even knowing what I should be taking a photo of for the White City of Tel-Aviv. It is by far the most ambitious World Heritage site I’ve visited. There is nothing which jumps out at you. There is no one single building or even collection of buildings that says “this is what we are talking about”. I searched on-line and the one building people mentioned as an example of modern architecture in Tel Aviv was the Cinema Hotel which wasn’t too far from where I was staying.

The White City of Tel Aviv now holds the position of the lamest World Heritage site I have ever visited.


View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Israel.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Mar 10, 2017 @ 1:40 pm