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Alternative Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a fascinating place. Strolling through its Old City – the cradle of Jewish, Christian and Muslim culture – is like walking across a set in some Hollywood blockbuster directed by Cecile B. Demille. This enclave breathes history in every stone holding up its temples and other buildings although, when it comes to travels, the capital of Israel has long been classed as a religious destination. Indeed, any pilgrimage to the Holy Land should include a fascinating tour of the city’s catacombs. In the following we reveal the most interesting spots in an alternative Jerusalem, pinpointing the bars and clubs in the renovated Mahane Yehuda market.

Adraba Books

A meeting point for the city’s literary community, Adraba Books is Jerusalem’s bookstore for anyone seeking stories that go beyond official accounts. Over and above its café – worth commending in a country which does not stand out for its espressos, macchiatos and cappuccinos – it is noteworthy for its section of art volumes and its stock of titles in foreign languages, particularly English. Sderot Ben Maimon 5

Casino De Paris

Located in the heart of Mahane Yehuda – a refurbished market filled with colourful food stalls by day, many of which become bars and clubs with live music by night – stands the Casino de Paris, formerly one of the most popular clubs among British officers stationed in Jerusalem during the nineteen twenties. A century later it is now reliving its days of glory, and can count among its die-hards a large, motley crew of night revellers. The revival is largely the brainchild of Sha’anan Streett, the vocalist of Hadag Nahash, one of Israel’s most widely acclaimed hip-hop bands, and Eli Mizrahi, the owner of the nearby Machneyuda, possibly the best restaurant in the city. 3 Mahane Yehuda Street


Next door to a fast-food eatery, Gatsby is half-concealed behind a drab black steel gate, lacking any sign that might denote its presence. Despite its brief history (it opened just over a year ago), it is actually Jerusalem’s first cocktail lounge to re-create the ambience of an American speakeasy from the Prohibition era. It is stunning to see their barwoman wielding the cocktail shaker. As in other locales of this kind, you can only gain access if you know the secret code of the day, or else pretend to be a strayguiri– it worked with me. 18 Hillel Street

Lev Smadar

Lev Smadar opened in 1921 and is one of the most emblematic cinemas in Jerusalem. Hidden in an alleyway in the German quarter, it is honestly more difficult to find than Wally without his striped shirt. It features American, European and Israeli independent cinema and is frequented by the city’s arty crowd. All the movies are screened in their original version and local films are in Hebrew with English subtitles. 4 Lloyd George Street

Razzouk Tattoo Studio

Lost among the winding streets skirting the Jaffa Gate lies Razzouk Tattoo, the first and only tattoo parlour in Jerusalem’s Old City. Like almost everything here, the story of Razzouk Tattoo is fascinating. The Razzouks, a family of Egyptian origin, have been tattooing since the 14th century. In those times Copts would have a small cross etched on the inside of their wrist to gain entry to churches. After settling in Jerusalem, the grandfather, Yacoub Razzouk, opened his studio in the mid-20th century. The family tradition is now furthered by his grandson, Wassim Razzouk. 31 St. George Street


This club is ideal for dropping in on the night scene on weekdays. It has been operating for the last ten years and is one of the favourite sanctuaries of DJs involved in Israel’s electronic underground. It is also a place to feed on vinyls, graphic novels and other Israeli counter-culture publicity. It is also one of the few clubs in town where you can quaff on a pint of Taybeh, a Palestinian beer which is up there with the best German or Belgian barley beverages. 4 Aristobolos Street


This is the only openly gay bar in Jerusalem and a winner if you want to have a memorable night in the city. If you strike it lucky, you will happen upon one of their popular thematic parties from the 80s and 90s, soirées where the punchiest hits from those two decades will sound out one after the other. And, if you get too heavily involved in the revelry, don’t be surprised if you get carried off by one of the drag queens, who will lead you onto the dance floor. You’ve been warned! 1 Horkanus Street

Yellow Submarine

Open since 1991, the Yellow Submarine is Jerusalem’s most emblematic concert hall, the venue where both good – and the best – stars (albeit, unknown here) of the eminently interesting Israel music scene have performed, as well as some of the leading international figures that have visited the country. In addition to their daily bowling schedule, this booster of local talent also hosts conferences and exhibitions, as well as being hired out for rehearsals and recording sessions. 13 Ha-Rechevim Street

Come and discover Jerusalem’s alternative scene – book your Vueling here!

Text by Oriol Rodríguez for Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Photos by Oriol Rodríguez, Cine Lev Smadar (© Alex Jilitsky), Uganda (© Udim), Yellow Submarine (© Uri Leshem)

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If you love healthy food, then Tel Aviv is your city

We bring you seven restaurants and bars for delicious healthy dining in Tel Aviv, from typical Israeli dishes to international eateries. Treat yourself to a superb gastronomic tour while exploring one of the most fashionable cities of the moment. Tel Aviv is a modern, cosmopoli-tan and vibrant city with excellent cultural and leisure options, good weather, lovely beaches and numerous great value-for-money restaurants where you can eat delicious healthy food.

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Neve Tzedek the Bohemian Quarter of Tel Aviv

Neve Tzedek, which in Hebrew means “home of justice”, was the first Jewish quarter to be built beyond the walls of the ancient port of Jaffa, twin to the still inexistent city of Tel Aviv (which emerged in the 1880s). From the outset, it was a place of refuge of the some of the most illustrious figures of Israeli culture. Now, a century after it was founded, its bohemian atmosphere is still in full swing. Some of the houses in this quarter are veritable monuments, built in such styles as the Bauhaus or Art Deco, while its streets are studded with cultural centres, restaurants, shops, cafés and bars you simply must visit on your stay in Tel Aviv. Here are some of the standout venues:

Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre
A must-visit spot on any art tour of Neve Tzedek. Fronted by a large mural by David Tartakover, one of Israel’s leading artists, the Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre has four spaces which host performances by some of the foremost national and international dance companies. It is also the headquarters of the highly acclaimed Batsheva Dance Company. If you aren’t much moved by dance, you will certainly by stunned by the mesmerising interior plaza, the surrounding gardens or the Suzanne Café, one of the best spots in the neighbourhood to while away the afternoon chatting over a steamy cup of coffee. Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre, 5 Yechieli Street.

It is important not only to replenish your energies, but to do so where eating is raised to the heights of pure pleasure. In Neve Tzedek, Dallal is such a place. Located in the heart of the quarter, the cuisine at this restaurant draws inspiration from both nearby Jaffa and its Arab roots, and the Mediterranean. Sheer bliss on the palate. Make a point of getting there early and have a cocktail in their enchanting outside square. Dallal, 10 Shabazi Street.

Chelouche Gallery
Dating from 1886, this was the first building to be erected in Neve Tzedek. Aharon Chelouche, a landowner, jeweller and moneychanger, was one of the leading figures in Jaffa’s Jewish community in the late 19th century. A co-founder of this neighbourhood, together with Shimon Rokach and others, the erstwhile home of Chelouche is now one of the city’s paramount art galleries. While the works on its walls are fascinating, no less so are the views of the quarter to be had from the roof terrace. Be sure to go up to the top. Chelouche House, 32 Shlush Street.

At the end of Shabazi Street, the main and most crowded thoroughfare in Neve Tzedek, stands HaTachana, the Hebrew name for Jaffa’s old railway station. Built in 1892, HaTachana eventually fell into disuse and was closed for years. In recent times it was restored and renovated to house a number of cafés, bars, restaurants, shops and markets, turning the former train station into one of the liveliest points both in the district and the whole city. HaTachana, 1 Kaufmann Street.

This small wine bar, with a capacity of hardly 14 people, is sophisticated yet inviting and boasts an excellent wine list. Its standout items are imported from Spain and France, and it also features an exciting list of cocktails. It is the ideal spot for ending off a day’s sightseeing in Neve Tzedek. Jajo, 44 Shabazi Street.

Carmel Market
Carmel Market (in Hebrew, Shuk Ha'Carmel) is a must-visit landmark for anyone arriving in Tel Aviv. Located on the edge of the Neve Tzedek quarter, it is a blend of a regular market, street market and souq, and is divided into two sections. The first houses stalls selling clothing, footwear, electrical appliances, etc. often at laughable prices. The highlight of the second and far more attractive section is an area of florists’ stalls, but it also has food stalls (fruit and vegetables, meat, cheeses, breads…), and those selling spices, which provide a fascinating explosion of colour, textures and aromas. 1 HaCarmel Street.

Nachum Gutman Museum of Art
Nachum Gutman, an Israeli painter and sculptor of Russian origin, was a cardinal figure in endowing Israeli art with a style of its own. Indeed, he departed from the European influences of his masters, which he regarded as inadequate for portraying the uniqueness of his country and its landscapes. His works are on display in various public buildings in Tel Aviv and, of course, in the Nachum Gutman Museum of Art as well. Nachum Gutman Museum of Art, 21 Shimon Rokach Street.

Rokach House
The journalist Shimon Rokach was the founder of a neighbourhood which at the end of the 19th century was part of the old city of Jaffa. Built in 1887, the Rokach family home is now an interesting museum devoted to that period. It is also the home of Lea Majaro-Mintz, Shimon’s granddaughter and one of the most widely acclaimed painters and sculptors in Israel. Rokach House, 36 Shimon Rokach Street.

Be sure to discover Neve Tzedek – book your Vueling to Tel Aviv here.

Text by Oriol Rodríguez

Images by Israel Photo Gallery, Amos Gil, israeltourism, Julien Menichini

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6 magic places in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is a city that never sleeps and offers a mix of opportunities to enjoy our stay there. Each neighborhood has its owns charms and each can have a unique and unforgettable experience:

1.- Old Jaffa

The old town, Old Jaffa , claims to be the neighborhood where the history of Tel Aviv begins. Its narrow streets and picturesque stone houses make you immerse in the old Ottoman Empire. This part of town is known for being one of the busiest and the main claim for tourists, attracted by the bohemian and art off its people and places. The flea market, Jaffa Flea Market , treasures all kinds of antique and curiosities that will not let us get away with empty hands. If we are hungry, Ali Karavan serves the best hummus in the world. Its main dish is hummus with beans and also the prices are very affordable. Another restaurant in the area to highlight is Dr Shakshuka , where you can taste the typical Israeli home cooking as much varied and tasty.

2.- Tel Aviv Port

This restless city is characterized by its port and beaches, washed by the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea . Tel Aviv offers spectacular views and it is a must walking around the harbor, which can be reached just leaving Old Jaffa. In Tel Aviv Port can be found especially local clubs or cocktail bars and a wide range of restaurants for all tastes. On the seafront is located Galina , an outdoor nightclub whose attendees are both tourists and locals. Theme nights for everyone are usually scheduled . Lovers of fish and shellfish can not say goodbye to Tel Aviv without delighting their palate in Manta Ray , number one shellfish in Israel . Another of their specialties is the cream of aubergine, a favorite for many of their guests . It is a perfect place for both a brunch with friends or to enjoy a romantic dinner by moonlight and the sound of the waves.

3.- Tel Aviv’s Downtown

Tel Aviv’s downtown hosts the most sophisticated shops in the city, from world famous brands to luxurious Israeli firms. The most emblematic of Tel Aviv are the great Dizengoff shopping center and the Bauhaus Center museum , in the heart of the city. We may also choose from a variety of restaurants that feature cuisine of extreme quality. Our favorites are the ice cream from Vaniglia and The Dinning Hall, a multicultural restaurant that fuses the culture of Israel through the cooking styles Sephardic, Ashkenazi, Arabic and Jebusites, always with Mediterranean and European connotations. The latter is located in the Performing Arts Center, on the boulevard of King Saul.

4.- Florentin

Florentin is a lively, bourgeois neighborhood of Tel Aviv. Where once was the working class’s refuge, in this last decade has been transformed and has been filled with artists, artisans and interesting people. Walking the Florentine streets is common to see graffiti on the walls or doors of houses, shops and establishments. Shuk Haaliyah spice market has become a must for all visitors to the city. We recommend to eat at Hahultziym 3, a restaurant that will make us dream with its parmesan-reggiano cheese, its kebabs, pitas roasted pork pitas and challah or bread stuffing Hebrew.

5.- Rothschild

Rothschild is the quintessential neighborhood for shopping and browse lots of little shops of local and vintage clothing. The Rothschild Boulevard and Shenkin Street have boutiques with a personality, best to go for the latest. Tuesdays and Fridays, Nahalat Binyamin Street becomes a showcase for the most innovative designers of clothing, jewelry, furniture and handicrafts. Most hedonists are in the right district, as the coolest nightclub in Tel Aviv, Radio EPGBE opens its doors in front of the boulevard. The purest underground atmosphere and live music make us enjoy the Israeli scene. You will listen to indie, rock, electronic and independent music in general. After a wild night, we can go to recover strength to Benedict, on the same boulevard, open 24 h and specialized in the most complete and tasty breakfasts that we can imagine.

5.- Neve Tzedek

The trendy district of Tel Aviv is precisely Neve Tzedek where tradition and modernity coexist. It is one of the most beautiful and was built in 1887 as the first Jewish neighborhood outside the walls of Jaffa. Get lost in its streets is essential in our journey to discover the white city’s history and evolution. We will be mesmerised by its amazing architecture that invite us to take pictures incessantly. Bohemian artists and modern people occupy the streets and proliferate their workshops and business in this area. The Monastery is a cocktail bar open 24 h, known for the variety of imported beers, situated at Allenby. Sausages are its specialty and there are all kinds. Good place to connect and converse with the locals and other tourists. Next to Neve Tzedek, the impressive market Hacarmel stands with stalls of exotic stuff and food to trade with their multicultural assistants.

Image:Boris Kuznetsov

By Blanca Frontera .

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