January 20, 2012

The White City

Chronologically, this post is out of order. I went on a walking tour of Tel Aviv offered by my school several weeks ago, and just haven't gotten around to blogging about it. But, I really want my friends and family back home to see what this city looks like. Cause I love it, and now I live here.

Tel Aviv and Miami are the only two major cities in the world built in the 1930's (Tel Aviv sprang up in the wake of WWII and Miami was rebuilt after a hurricane that destroyed the city during that decade) so they happen to look pretty similar architecturally.

The architecture which dominates TA is called Bauhaus- a style that is characterized by simple lines and materials (specifically white plaster, hence the name...The White City). Bauhaus buildings tend to have smooth, round lines, balconies on each floor, and common roof space shared by the residents.

Something which our tour guide pointed out to us along the way was all of the really interesting graffiti around the city. Graffiti is technically illegal here, but a lot of it is done by famous and incredibly talented Israeli artists. The graffiti is always changing, and some of it is really interesting.

We even came across some braille graffiti (top right above). We asked our guide what it meant, but he hadn't had any blind people join him on a walking tour about architecture yet so he had no idea. I especially appreciated the graffiti of a Jack Daniels bottle made to look like a bauhaus building.

Something else I've noticed around here are the ficus trees- they grow to be enormous and they have these beautiful braided trunks. Well, as it turns out the trunks aren't braided, but the tree grows "air roots" which hang from the branches and once they reach the ground they become part of the tree's root system. They're spectacular.

During the tour we went into a hotel on Dizengoff Square in the center of Tel Aviv. This hotel used to be an old cinema, in fact it's called the Hotel Cinema (clever, right?). This is a restored bauhaus building, and the only one we actually got to go inside of during the afternoon.

They even have one of the old projectors in the lobby:

So, that's pretty much it- just a quick glimpse of the city I call home for the time being.

No comments: