Only a hundred years ago, Jewish immigrants staked out Tel Aviv as an appendage to ancient Jaffa. Now Jaffa is the extension, with its historic cum trendy neighborhoods established by early Zionist pioneers and Jewish refugees. Tel Aviv is Israel's engine of commerce and a center for contemporary art and culture. Less than an hour west of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is sometimes called "the city that never sleeps," because its downtown looks like a miniature New York City, with tall buildings and sky-high real estate prices. Unlike the Big Apple, the city also boasts nearly nine miles of turquoise Mediterranean coastline, where people lounge next to palm-lined boulevards that stretch to the sea. Meeting venues in Tel Aviv reflect this heady mix of history and high life.
International visitors who arrive by air will receive an education about effective airport security. Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), which is Israel's largest international airport, serves Tel Aviv and Jerusalem; it is known for its thorough security, which will grow even more so as a checked baggage screening upgrade begins in late 2011. Taxi fare from TLV, which is about 20 minutes from Tel Aviv, can run up to $44 USD.
Convention venues in Tel Aviv include the Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center, which hosts thousands of exhibition events and meetings each year in its indoor and outdoor facilities. Nine indoor pavilions of varying sizes offer a combined 162,000 square feet of space, and there are an additional 450,000 square feet of open-air exhibition areas next to the pavilions.
Tel Aviv's standout districts include its White City of Bauhaus architecture brought in the 1930s by German Jewish architects who arrived in Palestine to escape the Nazi regime. The area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site to promote preservation and restoration of the some 4,000 buildings from that period. A new lifestyle center has also emerged from the historic Tel Aviv-Jaffa train station, following a 10-year restoration and renovation. The 49-acre Tachana entertainment complex inside over 20 historic buildings has multiple new venues in Tel Aviv, as well as restaurants, cafes and bars, retail stores and art stops filled with creative output by Israeli and international designers are in the mix.
Cultural venues include the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, which will be opening a $100-million expansion in 2011. The Eretz Israel Museum has a collection of archaeology and historical artifacts which portray the Land of Israel. There's also Beth Hatefutsoth whose story is about the Jewish Diaspora and prosperity throughout centuries of exile. Batey Ha-Osef Museum chronicles the Israel Defense Forces history.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV)
Approximate taxi fare: 129 ILS
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