Tel Aviv combines all kinds of architectural styles: antiquity, constructivism, modern architecture, and Bauhaus. This route will show you them all.
Several hundreds of eclectic-style buildings were constructed in Tel Aviv in the 20s. Their style combines eastern and western architecture, and features ornaments on the facades, symmetry, domes, and arches. Only a few buildings survived to this day. Levin House is one of them. It was built by an architect of Russian origin, Magidovich. His style was influenced by neo-classicism and architecture of Italian summer residences of the 19th century. The building was a private house once. Until recently it held Sotheby’s auctions. If you feel like staying in the area for a while, check out two beautiful cafes across the street from Levin House – Max Brenner and Landwer. Here you can have a cup of coffee and examine the details of the building. Max Brenner would be a perfect choice for chocolate lovers, Landwer – for the hungry ones.
The Great Synagogue
Its impressive building is situated on Allenby Street among numerous bars. The Great Synagogue was once a religious center of the city, which hosted weddings of all famous people. But later it fell into despair. Sometimes people celebrate Bar Mitzva here; only a few people come to Shabbath; and tourists rarely come to see this place. From the outside the Synagogue looks harsh with all the cumbersome spider-like columns surrounding it. Its interior is made in the style of Eastern European synagogues. Make sure to come inside to see a large dome surrounded by beautiful stained glass windows.
Built in 1925 the Pagoda House is one of the most impressive examples of eclectic style in Tel Aviv. Its three-storey building combines elements of several architectural styles, time periods, and motives. Its shape was inspired by a traditional Chinese pagoda, but contains arches, elements of typical Islam architecture, and Greek Doric columns. Such eclecticism was designed to show the wealth of the owner. It is a private villa now, so you can see it from the outside only. By the way, the best view is from King Albert Square, which is also a nice place to unwind.
The collection of 4000 Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv is called "The White City". It is one of the World Cultural Heritage sites according to UNESCO. The buildings were constructed by European immigrant architects. Rubinsky House in Shenkin Street is a great example of Tel Aviv Bauhaus. Along with other buildings located up and down Rothschild boulevard, it features white façades, simple shapes, and arched balconies.
Owned by Sarah Stern, an eccentric matron-like lady with her hair neatly tucked away, Tamar Café is situated in a fashionable Shenkin street, where cafes and stores are opened and closed in a wink. It seems like Sarah is older than Israel itself. The place remains unchanged as the years go by: plastic chairs, regulars reading newspapers or arguing fiercely about something, and of course that special bagel with olives and cheese. You won’t find a menu here, but it is all simple: just order a cup of coffee with some poppy pie, a bagel, and Israeli salad (finely chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and greens). At other times local celebrities used to come by. Today you can steel meet writers, poets, journalists and judges here. On the wall behind the counter, one can see pictures of the hostess, made by a famous cartoonist, and also portraits of the former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. They say Sarah was close acquaintance with his family. All in all Tamar Café is the most authentic and unique place in Tel Aviv.
The house is located by the square and stands at Bialik Street, which is the best Bauhaus and Jugendstil architecture manual. Visit the elaborately decorated house of Israel's prominent poet, Haim Nachman Bialik, who gave the name to the Street. The museum opened in 1937, four years after the poet died and showcases his books, furniture and personal belongings as well as paintings by his contemporaries. About 5,000 manuscripts, including some rare ones are stored in the library but are hard to read if you know no Hebrew. However, the place is a great illustration to the life of European immigrants in the 1920s. Opening hours are Mon-Thu 10 to 5 and Fri-Sat 10 to 2.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The New Building
This buliding is arguably the most interesting one among all the modern Tel Aviv houses. Having a most unusual shape, the building can boast a facade split into shiny white parabolas of different forms.
After you've a look at the museum from the outside, you should definitely check what's inside. The permanent collection has Shagal, Gutman and Rubin among other interesting paintings. The exhibitions held here are dedicated to archticture, art, design and photography.