Built on the sand dunes away from the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv is called today both a "Garden" and "White" City. Tel Aviv was developed by the enormous efforts of the Scottish City Planner Patrick Geddes who drew up a master plan for the new city in the late1920-ies. Geddes' revolutionary idea was to create a homogeneous urban and rural evolving landscape, crossed by the big boulevards, and with small gardens surrounding each building. Geddes developed Tel Aviv as a real living organism, constantly changing in time and space.
But only this alone makes Tel Aviv a unique place. Tel Aviv is a synthetic representation of some of the most significant trends of Modern Movement in architecture, as it developed in Europe, and foremost a combination of the Bauhaus and International Architectural styles. The White City is also an outstanding example of these trends taking into account local cultural traditions and climatic conditions. The buildings of Tel Aviv were further enriched by local traditions - their design was adapted to the specific climatic conditions of the city, giving an outstanding character to the urban ensemble as a whole.
This is how the "White City" was created. White and light colors reflected the heat. Typical for the Bauhaus style in Europe large windows were made much smaller, limiting the heat and glare of the Middle East. Long, narrow balconies, each shaded by the balcony above it, allowed residents to catch the breeze blowing in from the sea to the West. Pitched roofs were replaced with flat ones, providing a common area where residents could socialize in the cool of the evening. Many buildings were raised on pillars which allow the wind to blow under and cool the apartments, as well as providing a play area for children.
Tel Aviv’s residents took to the streets in the evenings, frequenting the numerous small parks between the buildings and the coffee shops, where they could enjoy the evening air in a joyful company. This tradition continues in the bustling nightlife of the city today.
By Geddes plan Tel Aviv consisted of three major areas – "The White City", the Rothschild Boulevard and the City Heart – "Lev Ha Ir". Today all these three areas are combined by the common well-known name of the "White City" but they still bear their original identity and charm. Lev Ha Ir looks like one huge garden, with the buildings hidden between the old trees. It was here, under these trees, where the first generation of the young Tel Aviv born kids used to play their long forgotten today games.
This is here, where few families of the poor new immigrants used to share their small apartments, with the door bells ringing different number of rings for each family to open the door. Here every next house used to have a tiny grocery shop, all competing for the hearts of the children with the same candies.
And today, when one walks these beautiful streets of the Lev Ha Ir listening to the stories of those people who grew up here, it becomes much more than a great city and a World Heritage Site. It enters your heart, which joins in harmony with the heart beating of the Lev Ha Ir!