"Tel Aviv 83" national stamp exhibition

  • Issue: September 1983
  • Designer: M. Pereg
  • Sheet size: 140 x 90 mm
  • Sheet of 2 stamps
  • Printers: E. Lewin-Epstein Ltd.
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

By the time the Tel Aviv promenade was paved in the second half of the thirties, the first chapters in the rich history of the seashore had already been written. When the Third Aliya arrived in the area at the beginning of the twenties, it was there that they pitched their tents and the place became the centre of attraction for all the young people who as darkness fell, would congregate there to dance the Hora, sing and make merry.

It was then that the famous Casino at the top of Allenby Road was built and around it sprouted the first bathing facilities and, a little higher up, the first workshops. The San Remo Hotel at the edge of the shore was the "in place" where the prosperous citizens of Tel Aviv, senior government officials and Arab notables whiled away their time in a more "European" environment.

Towards the end of the twenties, the first groups of houses were erected on the seashore - the Rosenfeld Quarter - initiated by a group of American Jews, and Ben-Yehuda Street and Hayarkon Street were laid down. At the northern edge of the shore, next to the two textile and leather factories, the Mahiul Quarter came to life a cluster of huts that persisted until the sixties.

The promenade was laid down between Frishman Street in the north and extended just beyond Geula Street in the south. From the moment that the ceremonial tape was cut, the promenade's advantages and disadvantages became apparent to all.

While on the one hand, the aim of the planners to provide a promenade in the Mediterranean style was achieved it proved unable to serve the masses of would-be bathers. The sea reached almost to the promenade at various points and in winter, the waves crashed against the concrete walls. On the other hand, the promenade fulfilled its declared aim as the social centre of Tel Aviv, and all along its length there sprang up hotels and cafes - the Kaete Dan, the Park and the Gat Rimon - the popular Panorama, Pilz, Ginati-Yam and other cafes, while at a later date the Kessem and Yaron cinemas opened their doors.

The promenade was Tel Aviv's first pedestrian precinct. Every Sabbath morning during the winter, crowds came to enjoy a walk along the seafront and hundreds of members of the allied forces came to enjoy a short period of fun and relaxation from the horrors of war. Every afternoon and evening there was dance music at the Panorama, Pilz and Ginati-Yam and the young girls of Tel Aviv flocked there in search of a partner. But the area also attracted the more senior section of the population, the new immigrants from Poland and Germany, who found there an atmosphere reminding them of their homeland.

On the slope leading down to the promenade which was named after Herbert Samuel, the first High Commissioner, was a row of cafes in which you could sit and listen to records of classical music. These cafes became very popular at a later date with members of the PALMACH and the Bohemia of the forties.

During the fifties the promenade began to deteriorate - cafes closed down, buildings began to crumble. The people still came to bathe, but they simply crossed the promenade in order to reach the sea - they no longer tarried there.

The promenade came to life again in the second half of the seventies. A whole row of luxury hotels sprang up along Hayarkon Street and the plan to construct a road parallel to the seashore as far as Yafo began to take shape. The promenade became a busy main road which today stretches all the way from the northern edge of Tel Aviv to the boundaries of Yafo.

In recent years the promenade has again become the entertainment centre of Tel Aviv. It has been completely transformed as a new decorative paving was laid down, shade trees planted, modern street lighting introduced, stone benches dotted around, and even chairs put at the disposal of the passer-by. Once more Tel Avivians flock nightly to the seashore and the promenade is again dotted with restaurants and cafes.

But the promenade also serves as a traffic artery - as yet uncompleted - and busy traffic lanes separate the promenaders from the seashore. Only time will tell whether it is possible for the smoke and fumes to coexist with the idyllic Mediterranean atmosphere. Meanwhile the Tel Aviv promenade, renewed and redecorated, has regained its youth and the sea has regained its former proud position as the centre of life in Tel Aviv,only this time, rock has replaced the Hora.

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"Tel Aviv 83" national stamp exhibition