The New National Heritage Site will be launched in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day
April 18, 2018.
The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage are proud to inaugurate a new national heritage site in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day. Independence Trail invites visitors to discover some of the nation’s most significant historical monuments and explore its cultural and national heritage. The new 1km walking route will bring two stories to life that are central to the story of modern Israel: The birth of Tel Aviv, the first Jewish, self-governed, Hebrew speaking city, in 1909; and how Tel Aviv would make way for the birth of the State of Israel 39 years later in 1948, fulfilling a 2,000-year-old dream.
“Independence Trail” is located in one of the most central spots in Israel. The streets along the Trail and its surrounding area are home to hundreds of technological companies, dozens of restaurants, cafes and bars, the Israeli Stock Exchange, global and national bank headquarters, art galleries and posh residences. Yet the historic importance of this area far exceeds its current-day popularity, and in many ways is the reason for it: at this very spot, two crucial founding acts took place: the birth of Tel Aviv in 1909; and the birth of Israel itself at 1948. On Israel’s 70th Independence Day these two stories will come to life as Independence Trail will be launched.
The building of the Trail demanded extensive infrastructure work that has been carried out in the past months including the implementation of a unique lighting system that allows visitors to walk along the trail at night. “Independence Trail” was inspired by the “Freedom Trail” in Boston, one of the most popular heritage sites in the United States. Visitors are invited to experience the history with a unique mobile app, and at each historical spot interactive information pages will appear on the visitor’s device, explaining the point of interest and providing rich historical content and background on the surrounding area. Alternatively, visitors can guide themselves using a map in 8 languages (Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Chinese and Russian). Independence Trail will be open free of charge 24/7.
The Trail begins at the First Kiosk of Tel Aviv at the intersection of Rothschild Blvd. and Herzl Street, and continues along Rothschild past the Nahum Gutman Fountain, The home of Akiva Aryeh Weiss, The Shalom Meir Tower (former site of the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, the first Hebrew-speaking high school), The Great Synagogue, the Hagana Museum, The Bank of Israel’s Visitor Center, the Tel Aviv Founders Monument, the Meir Dizengoff statue and Independence Hall which served as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, at the time of the historic ceremony where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo: “The 70th anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel is an excellent opportunity to combine two miracles in the history of the Jewish national movement – the establishment of the first Hebrew City and the establishment of the Hebrew State. Independence Trail also emphasizes the significant role of Tel Aviv-Yafo, the first Hebrew city, in the realization of our national vision. I invite tourists and locals to walk Independence Trail and visit the historical area as well as the significant landmarks that contributed to the fulfillment of the Israeli dream.”
Tourism Minister, Yariv Levin said, “We are a proud partner of “Independence Trail” that was established in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day. The Trail will provide tourists with an enriching urban and historical experience, telling the story of the Declaration of Independence and the beginnings of Tel Aviv. The Israel Ministry of Tourism works yearlong on promoting Tel Aviv as a vibrant city combining sandy Mediterranean beaches with culture, nightlife, architecture and history. I am convinced that “Independence Trail” will be an inspiring experience for tourists who will gain a deeper understanding of our heritage. “
The Minister of Heritage and Jerusalem, MK Zeev Elkin, said: “We at the Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry are happy to inaugurate Independence Trail together with the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo in honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary. Tel Aviv, the First Hebrew City is named after the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl’s book Altneuland, outlining Herzl’s vision for a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. In accordance with its name, the history of Tel Aviv embodies as a microcosm of the history of Zionism and the young State of Israel. The new attraction will allow everyone, Israeli and tourists, to dive into the fascinating chapters of the story of the establishment of the State of Israel, right at the center of Tel Aviv. “
The Israeli Democracy Pavilion:
In addition, during Israel’s 70th anniversary year (from April to December 2018), visitors will be able to enjoy “The Israeli Democracy Pavilion” – a presentation about the story of the Declaration of Independence. The project, which is collaboration between the Israel Democracy Institute and the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, takes place in a majestic structure on Rothschild Boulevard, in which visitors experience a unique film in 360 degrees which unveils important moments of Israeli democracy. The construction, located on Rothschild Blvd 1, will be surrounded by arcades symbolizing the diversity and complexity of Israeli society. Selected quotes from the Declaration of Independence will be showcased on the arches of the Pavilion. Visitors will be invited to sign a pledge to uphold the core valuesof the Declaration of Independence. Entry to the Israeli Democracy Pavilion is free of charge. The Democracy Pavilion is expected to travel to other cities in Israel after the end of 2018.
List of Heritage Sites:
The First Kiosk
Tel Aviv’s First Kiosk was established in 1910 quickly became a central meeting place. During the 1920’s around 100 kiosks operated in the city under the association of the kiosk and soft drink store owners.
The Nahum Gutman Fountain
A famous mosaic made by Nachum Gutman,an Israeli artist who grew up in Tel Aviv along with the new city, and reflected the simplicity of the early days of the First Hebrew City. He was an accomplished illustrator, photographer and writer and was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize in 1978. The mosaics around the fountain tell us the history of Jaffa – the ancient port city from which Tel Aviv was born.
Tel Aviv’s Independence Trail weaves past, present
Akiva Aryeh Weiss’ House
The home of Akiva Aryeh Weiss, founder of the Ahuzat Bayit neighborhood, which later evolved into the First Hebrew City – Tel Aviv. As President of the then newly established Building Society, Weiss presided over the 1909 lottery in which 66 Jewish families drew numbers written on seashells to determine the allocation of lots in the about-to-be established city of Tel Aviv.
The Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium
The site of the first Hebrew-speaking high school and the beating heart of the city. The building on Herzl Street was a major Tel Aviv landmark until 1962, when the site was razed for the construction of the Shalom Meir Tower. The destruction of the building sparked widespread recognition of the importance of conserving historical landmarks. Today the Shalom Tower is home to a visitor center about the history of Tel Aviv, which is open free to the public on weekdays.
The Great Synagogue
The spiritual and religious center of the First Hebrew City located in the heart of the business and financial center of the city. The building features a huge dome, elaborate lighting fixtures, and magnificent stained glass windows.
The Haganah Museum
The Haganah Museum is located in the home of Eliyahu Golomb – the founder, and de facto commander of the Haganah. In 1930-1945, the Haganah’s secret headquarters were located in his house.Golomb’s residential room and office on the ground floor as well as the exterior of the house were preserved in full. The Haganah Museum will be open to the public free of charge during 2018, to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary.
The Bank of Israel’s Visitors Center
The historical headquarters of Israel’s national bank, which presents the history of the financial system in Israel. The center presents the historical development of money in Israel and displays an extensive exhibition of banknotes and coins issued from pre-State days to the present. The Visitor’s Center will be open to the public free of charge during 2018, to mark Israel’s 70th anniversary.
Tel Aviv Founders Monument
The Founder’s Monument and Fountain is dedicated to the men and women who established Tel Aviv in the first half of the 19th century. Nestled into a green space on Rothschild Boulevard, it is a serene spot, dotted with benches and centered around a small pool and fountain.
Statue of Meir Dizengoff
The first Mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff, was known for riding his horse from his home (which is now the Independence hall) to City Hall, and then located on Bialik Street. As a part of the tribute to the first mayor of Tel Aviv, a statue of Meir Dizengoff on his horse, created by the artist David Zondolovitz, was unveiled in front of his historic residence, on Rothschild Boulevard no. 16.
The home of the first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, which he dedicated to establishing the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. On May 14, 1948, the house hosted the historic ceremony of the Declaration of Independence.
About the Israel Ministry of Tourism:
The Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT), is Israel’s national tourism agency responsible for planning and implementing marketing and promotional initiatives to position Israel as a preferred travel destination. IMOT aims to increase tourism traffic to contribute to Israel’s economy, and to enhance and diversify the visiting experience. IMOT works to promote Israel’s impressive assortment of historical, cultural, culinary and religious attractions – each the perfect blend of tradition and modernity. IMOT offices in North America are located in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Toronto.