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Nifty Neighborhoods | White City UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tel Aviv, Israel [1]

August 28, 2010

Neighborhoods are what define cities.  They are what separates Boston from Bangalore, Bogota from Birmingham, and Berlin from Buenos Aires, and giving each city her distinctive identity. Neighborhoods are entities of living communities. Many of them begin life as planned areas designed by municipalities, but many others  simply sprout organically starting with a few like-minded people moving in, followed by others. And ultimately these living communities, where people live, work, play and learn, are what make cities attractive.

As modern-day travelers, ideally we’d all like to pursue different travel experiences that enable us to separate Tel Aviv from Taipei, Tallin from Tegucigalpa, and Tokyo from Trieste.

So in your next travels, when you find yourself in a foreign city, do venture out and explore, look around you for all the colors, sights and sounds that the different neighborhoods offer. You’ll reward yourself with a better understanding and appreciation how different communities live and function. And you’ll come home with bragging rights that you’ve seen the difference between Kolkata and København, Kuala Lumpur and Karachi, and Khartoum and Köln.

Here’s a look at Tel Aviv, and her neighborhood nicknamed White City, for her greatest collection of Bauhaus Architecture. A neighborhood so unique with a architecture heritage so distinctive it was worthy of being designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.

Recognized for having world’s richest concentration of preserved Bauhaus Architecture (also known as International Style) in Tel Aviv’s heart of cultural, entertainment and commercial district. This architectural style was innovative and ahead of its time, tailored to the needs of its residents and their lifestyle and the Mediterranean climate. The White City was planned by Scottish architect, Sir Patrick Geddes.

Al fresco cafés, exquisite boutique hotels, hip restaurants of every imaginable global cuisine, stylish boutiques and cutting-edge galleries dot the landscape. Naturally this much-desired neighborhood is also home to some of the most expensive real estate in the Middle East. Apartments built in this style are valued not just for their aesthetic value and functional layout, but also for their sophisticated climatic elements. With design elements such as generous verandas, cross breezes, solar shades, flat roofs and greenery on all sides, these buildings use much less energy and are more comfortable in the hot summer than most of what is being built today.

Most of these buildings were built in the 1930’s, when a wave of immigrants, mainly from Germany, arrived in the city. Designed by Jewish architects, who had studied in Europe before their immigration to Palestine, which later became the State of Israel. Giving birth to a new architectural language, rich and diverse, characterized by asymmetry, functionality and simplicity. The balconies, building pillars, flat roofs and “thermometer” windows became the trademarks of the city. The unique urban and historical fabric extends into the architectural qualities in buildings, streets, squares and avenues of Tel Aviv.

About 4,000 buildings were constructed in this area, beginning in the 1930’s until the establishment of the State of Israel. The White City is located between Allenby Street in the south, Begin Road and Ibn Gvirol Street in the east, the Yarkon River in the north, and the Mediterranean Sea in the west.

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