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Mitham Hatachana - The Historic Old Jaffa Train Station Complex

The Old Jaffa Train Station Complex Tel Aviv(Hatachana)


The Old Jaffa Train Station Complex Tel Aviv


Mitcham Hatachana, The station complex in Tel Aviv is an entertainment complex full of restaurants and cafes that is open 7 days a week, the complex was the Ottoman railway station that transported passengers from Jaffa to Jerusalem several times a week, today the buildings of the passenger terminal are used as shops, workshops, and entertainment complexes.


The Establishment of the Jaffa Passenger Train Station in the 19th Century


After many years that the Land of Israel was cut off from the rest of the world and dragged behind, in the middle of the 19th century a resilient businessman from England named Moshe Montefiore appealed to the Ottoman authorities to establish a network of railroads to develop the land and make progress accessible to the residents of the area, only 30 years later another Jewish businessman In the name of Yusef Navon(who built together with Sultan Suliman the 2 the Jaffa Clock Tower), he received the concession to build the railways of the train and the project was done together with Sultan Abdul Hamid II. In the end, both failed and the concession was transferred to a French company that completed the construction of the railway.

The track was planned as close as possible to the port of Jaffa, the main gateway for visitors to the Holy Land whose main goal was to reach Jerusalem. The Turks were afraid of a French takeover of the port of Jaffa in particular, therefore the train station was eventually built not so close to the port of Jaffa and the water line.

In September 1892, a solemn ceremony was held and the train finally began to travel! The train was decorated with the flags of the Ottoman Empire but the expectation of a quick arrival to Jerusalem was soon elated, 4 tedious hours of travel awaited the passengers but it was better than a week of walking with dangers on the way or using Bedouins on camels who charged imaginary sums.


The Buildings of the Jaffa Train Station


1. The station - the central terminal building of the station complex

The central building bears a striking resemblance to the twin building at the Jerusalem train station, having been constructed in a classic European style using local stones and Israeli glass. There is a ticket office, a public waiting area, and a private waiting area located in this central hall. Equipment and bags were kept on the western side. The entrance to the wooden spiral staircase that leads to the second floor of the station offices is located at the second door from the east. In the building today a Georgian restaurant serves traditional dishes 7 days a week and in front of the building you can see the train that once traveled on the tracks.

2. The goods warehouse and the experience of traveling by train

The long structure with a tiled roof served as a warehouse for goods before they were loaded onto the train. A "Terezina" (a tiny suburban train for goods) was constructed to carry the goods that left the port of Jaffa to the central station complex. The Terezina stopped here, next to the goods warehouse, because it was necessary to transport goods from the port to the station. On the north side of the warehouse, the track's restoration is visible.

People initially avoided the train services because they were expensive and dangerous. However, as news spread that the journey would only take four hours instead of eight, the demand for travel by train grew, leading to the construction of a second, smaller stone structure next to the ticket sales tunnel-equipped warehouses. The same figures that held up the house windows are shown in an original Tel Aviv patent called "Mantshalech" next to the train station windows. A gate that required a ticket to enter was situated between the goods warehouse and the station building.

The complex's boundary was once marked by a single stone wall on both sides. The same company that constructed the Eiffel Tower added a wrought-iron roof later on to the station building. The light rail station is visible beyond the fence to the east of the goods warehouse. Additionally, a restored green train carriage with a multimedia experience telling the train's history is located here.

3. Weiland Tiles Factory

The factory that was founded in 1906 to produce painted pavers and components for concrete construction was a trailblazer in the development of the industry in the Land of Palestine. It used cement that was produced locally in Palestine, eliminating the need for imports. The European-style construction details had a significant impact on building in the Holy Land of Israel, particularly in Tel Aviv, and beyond the Templar colonies. The location became a British military base after the Templars were driven from the nation in 1941 after the British labeled them as enemies.

The service buildings are the different structures that surround the Weiland factory. The paintings in the various buildings, the water cisterns, and the heating fireplace can all be seen when you visit the stores of the complex today. Pay attention to the structures covered in concrete tiles! Wieland Factory's production was of the same quality as the well-known red tiles imported from Marseille.

A sycamore tree that survived the Jaffa landscape can be found at the western end of the complex next to the Vicky Christina restaurant. It is next to the toilet building, a rounded structure that is a reminder of the former British base.


The Visit of Herzel to Jerusalem and His Journey by the Train


Theodor Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl traveled to Palestine in October 1898 as a diplomatic delegate to meet Wilhelm II , the Caeser of Germany in Jerusalem. Herzl took a train to get to Jerusalem. As was typical on Fridays, the train was delayed and Herzl reached Jerusalem after Shabbat. He described the scene outside the train window as "a depressing land for sadness" in his diary. The German emperor, who had traveled by horse and foot to Jerusalem, came back to Jaffa in a train decorated with velvet cushions in his honor.

Due to its proximity to the Arab neighborhood of Menshiya, this station was not used as an exit point during the Arab Revolt in 1936. The station's first stop was from what is now Railway Street, where the Customs House is located. Two pink-painted buildings, a relic from the Arab neighborhood of Menshiya, are visible beyond the wall. And a two-story home with a tile roof is next to it.


Visit Mitcham Hatachana Tel Aviv while walking from Jaffa to Neve Tzedek, and enjoy the finest restaurants and boutique shops that the Old Jaffa train Complex has to offer!


Join me on a Tel Aviv and Jaffa Private Tour to Visit Jaffa Historic Train Station! 


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