Tel Aviv is famed for its international modern style (traditionally called Bauhaus after the design school which influenced it), which led to the city being named a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Bauhaus school originated in pre-war Germany and focused on the union of art, design and architecture to achieve ‘total works of art’ in the art of building. The movement sought the strip back art and design to its essence, granting priority to primary forms and colours. In architecture Bauhaus works are recognised through their asymmetry, the use of cube and rounded windows, balconies and roof terraces, creating shadows and lights. The Bauhaus movement established itself in Israel as Jewish designers, artists and architects escaped Nazi Germany and fled to safety. Arriving in Israel it became evident that the functional ideology of Bauhaus architecture married perfectly with the practical emphasis of socialist Zionism. Accordingly, in Tel Aviv there are over 4000 Bauhaus buildings. Your specialist architecture guide will refer to both the intellectual history of the movement, and the different features of the styles of the buildings you will see in the so-called ‘White City’. In addition, you will explore what are perhaps some of the most beautiful buildings in Tel Aviv – those built in the eclectic style of the 1920s. Known as the ‘houses of dreams’, these date to a time when anything was deemed possible and the structures fuse styles from all over the world in a remarkable fashion.
In Jerusalem the architectural wonders are as diverse as its history and inhabitants. The stunning Dome of the Rock heralds the dawn of the Islamic style despite its heavy Byzantine and Roman influences, and is not to be missed with it 45,000 gold and blue tiles, mosaics, intricate paintings and carved stones. The symbolic architecture of Moshe Safdie permeates the city, from the remarkable museum at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, to the outdoor Mamilla mall. Also not to be missed by architectural enthusiasts is the Supreme Court building designed by Ram Karmi and Ada Karmi-Melamded (brother and sister architects), who borrowed influences from Herodian to modern to produce an experimental building which plays with contrasting lights, angles and materials in order to reflect the concepts of justice and rule of law.
If you are interested in Christian heritage, the holy architecture of the famed Antonio Barluzzi is not to be missed. Barluzzi moved to the Holy Land in the 1920s from Italy, where he became the lead architect for the Catholic church. He always tried to incorporate the story connected to the church into its architecture, and his buildings are spectacular. Of particular note are the Garden of Gethsemane and Dominus Flevit in Jerusalem, the Transfiguration Church on Mount Tabor and the Church of the Beatitudes by the Sea of Galilee. In addition, the Church of the Holy Sepluchre is not to be overlooked from a purely architectural perspective, because it has been built and rebuilt over the ages, it exhibits an engaging mix of Roman, Byzantine and Gothic styles. The impressive artwork of the numerous chapels inside the Church display Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox design.
We have returned to rainy London but I wanted to let you know that the trip was an emphatic success.
Craig C, London
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