The charming neighbourhood of Neve Tzedek: Heartwarming love stories and remarkable firsts
Neve Tzedek is the first Jewish neighborhood “outside of the walls” (Walls built by the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the area at the time). Today it’s located in Tel Aviv-Yafo. Evenly divided between the ancient, port-city Yafo, and the newer, modern Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv was officially founded in 1909, but Neve Tzedek was established back in 1887, way before the city of Tel Aviv even came about. Neve Tzedek has an astonishing story behind it, that goes beyond the gentrified facade it holds today. From people that changed the course of history to personal, heartwarming stories; let’s dive in.
The First Train Station
The first train station, contrary to popular belief, isn’t actually in Jerusalem - but in Tel Aviv. Or in Neve Tzedek, to be more precise. The Ottoman Turks had little interest in the city’s development, so they gave that job to the French, who built the station in 1890.
In 1892, the construction officially came to an end, and the first ever train station in pre-state Israel was built.
The seemingly First Station in Jerusalem is an exact copy of the one in Tel Aviv. The first one was built in Tel Aviv and the last one in Jerusalem. It’s kind of amusing that we don’t have a direct train connecting between the two cities today, isn’t it?
Back then, the station had trains going to cities like Damascus, Beirut, and Kahir. It was great for trade and commerce purposes. But after the War of Independence, and ever since Israel was officially established in 1948, those connections were lost.
Neve Tzedek; Against All Odds
Speaking of the Israeli War of Independence, it isn’t so obvious that the neighborhood of Neve Tzedek survived and remained after it. A very similar neighborhood; the first Arab neighborhood outside of the walls, called Manshia, was wiped out.
Both neighborhoods found themselves bearing the brunt of the war, taking tremendous amounts of damage. Manshia was destroyed In the 70’s, and its remnants were covered up with grass. Right before the order to destroy Neve Tzedek was executed, they decided to preserve it instead - and that’s why we have the pleasure of touring there today.
The neighborhood has gone through a major overhaul over the last 100 years, and today has very different character compared to 1887. It managed to turn itself around, from being an irrelevant neighborhood in Yafo to a hustling and bustling, colorful neighborhood In Tel Aviv-Yafo. It is actually one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Tel Aviv today, housing very valuable real-estate.