Famed for its sunny beaches and vibrant nightlife, Tel Aviv is also home to a host of first-rate museums, including a sprawling complex with contemporary masterpieces and a gallery-bar that showcases the wonders of whiskeys from around the world.
A first stop on any cultural journey through the city should begin at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Located on Sha’ul HaMelech Avenue in the heart of Tel Aviv, this world-class institution houses an extensive collection of modern and contemporary Israeli and European art displayed throughout several wings. At the entrance, you can catch a glimpse of pop-art icon Roy Lichtenstein’s giant mural created especially for the museum. As part of the permanent collection, visitors can view masterpieces from major art movements, including German Expressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Fauvism. Among these are paintings by Pablo Picasso from his Blue and Late Periods, portraits by Amedeo Modigliani and Surrealist works by Joan Miró. The Tel Aviv Museum of Art also houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of Israeli art, including pieces by Igael Tumarkin, Tsibi Geva and Michal Na’aman. Don’t miss out on the eye-catching architecture of the new Herta and Paul Amir Building, which opened in 2011, adjacent to the main wing. Notable artists who have exhibited here include Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall, Jeff Wall and Louise Bourgeois.
In a restored 18th-century building overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, in the historic Old Jaffa quarter lies the Ilana Goor Museum. Founded in 1995 by renowned Israeli artist Ilana Goor, the institution is unique for being both a museum and an artist’s residence. It presents an eclectic and highly original collection of 500 artworks and antiques that Goor has either created or collected from around the world over the past five decades. Of these there are around 300 sculptures from Israel, Africa and Latin America. Discover works by acclaimed Israeli artists such as Ron Arad and Fatma Shanan and contemporary artists including Henry Moore, Josef Albers and Alberto Giacometti. Goor’s sculptures draw heavily from found materials and are made of wood, stone and metal. On top of offering a rich cultural experience, the Ilana Goor Museum has unbeatable views of the city and the sea.
Perched atop a hill in the Old Jaffa quarter near the sea, this museum is located within an Ottoman-era building constructed on top of a destroyed 11th-century Crusader fortress. Inside are displays of ancient archaeological items alongside rotating contemporary art exhibitions. The artefacts showcase the rich and varied history of the civilisations that conquered Jaffa, beginning with the Stone Age and moving onwards to the Canaanites, Egyptians, Persians, Philistines, Phoenicians, Greeks, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans. Among the highlights are an eighth-century BC transcription of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, and personal items belonging to a Jewish family who lived in the area during the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago. The Old Jaffa Museum of Antiquities is suitable for children and is wheelchair accessible. It’s best to call before visiting because the museum often hosts private events and is therefore closed to the public.
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