Tel Aviv (Hebrew: תֵּל אָבִיב, [tel aˈviv], Arabic: تَلّ أَبِيب, tall ʾabīb) is the second most populous city in Israel—after Jerusalem—and the most populous city in the conurbation of Gush Dan, Israel's largest metropolitan area. Located on the country's Mediterranean coastline and with a population of 443,939, it is the economic and technological center of the country.
Tel Aviv is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, headed by Mayor Ron Huldai, and is home to many foreign embassies.[a] It is a global city and is ranked 25th in the Global Financial Centres Index. Tel Aviv has the third- or fourth-largest economy and the largest economy per capita in the Middle East. The city has the 31st highest cost of living in the world. Tel Aviv receives over 2.5 million international visitors annually. A "party capital" in the Middle East, it has a lively nightlife and 24-hour culture. Tel Aviv is home to Tel Aviv University, the largest university in the country with more than 30,000 students.
The city was founded in 1909 by the Yishuv (Jewish residents) as a modern housing estate on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa, then part of the Jerusalem province of Ottoman Syria. It was at first called 'Ahuzat Bayit' (lit. "House Estate" or "Homestead"), the name of the association which established the neighbourhood, a name changed the following year to 'Tel Aviv'. Its name means "Tell of Spring", symbolising both ancient legacy and renewal. Other Jewish suburbs of Jaffa established outside Jaffa's Old City even before Tel Aviv, eventually became part of Tel Aviv, the oldest among them being Neve Tzedek (est. 1886).
Immigration by mostly Jewish refugees meant that the growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced that of Jaffa, which had a majority Arab population at the time. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were later merged into a single municipality in 1950, two years after the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which was proclaimed in the city. Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world's largest concentration of International Style buildings, including Bauhaus and other related modernist architectural styles.
Etymology and origins
Tel Aviv is named after Theodor Herzl's 1902 novel, Altneuland
("Old New Land"), for which the title of the Hebrew edition was "Tel Aviv"
Tel Aviv is the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl's Altneuland ("Old New Land"), translated from German by Nahum Sokolow. Sokolow had adopted the name of a Mesopotamian site near the city of Babylon mentioned in Ezekiel: "Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days." The name was chosen in 1910 from several suggestions, including "Herzliya". It was found fitting as it embraced the idea of a renaissance in the ancient Jewish homeland. Aviv is Hebrew for "spring", symbolizing renewal, and tel is a man-made mound accumulating layers of civilization built one over the other and symbolizing the ancient.
Although founded in 1909 as a small settlement on the sand dunes north of Jaffa, Tel Aviv was envisaged as a future city from the start. Its founders hoped that in contrast to what they perceived as the squalid and unsanitary conditions of neighbouring Arab towns, Tel Aviv was to be a clean and modern city, inspired by the European cities of Warsaw and Odessa. The marketing pamphlets advocating for its establishment in 1906, wrote:
In this city we will build the streets so they have roads and sidewalks and electric lights. Every house will have water from wells that will flow through pipes as in every modern European city, and also sewerage pipes will be installed for the health of the city and its residents.
— Akiva Arieh Weiss, 1906