Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Sarona in Tel Aviv. How the world turns
I have written before about Sarona, the German Templar settlement in Tel Aviv and how they developed agriculture export and industry at the turn of the twentieth century. I also wrote how it became a British army camp, then the first seat on government for the fledgling State, forming part of the 'kiriyah', now being relocated to other parts of Israel. Up until now, this was about as good as it got, but with typical Israeli élan, the small area has been brought back to life, albeit in a very different guise. In just an area perhaps no bigger than ten football pitches, you will see the old houses brought back into use, mainly as up market shops and cafes. An information centre will sell you tickets for a tour, but only in Hebrew, as is the website. English speaking group tours can be arranged via firstname.lastname@example.org but if you just want to read about the houses, each one has a useful notice outside with a brief explanation. There are attractive seating areas, cool pools and an excellent playground too.
One delicious irony: the first building you come to was once the community centre for the German Templars. In World War Two, with the Germans shipped of to Australia, it became the British army camp cinema. By 1948 it had metamorphosed into the Israeli army base synagogue, then the staff restaurant and social club. And now? It is the flagship store for Adidas, with the name proudly displayed on the outside of the building. How the Templars would have smiled!
You can easily reach Sarona, at the junction of Menachem Begin and Eliezer Kaplan Boulevards and about a five minute walk from the Azrieli Centre.