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Thursday, April 12, 2018
Interactive Israeli "Independence Trail" to Open in Tel Aviv in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day

Israeli "Independence Trail" to Open in Tel Aviv
The New National Heritage Site will be launched in honor of Israel’s 70th
Independence Day
April 18, 2018

Tel Aviv's new "must-see" tourist attraction will feature an interactive
walking route leading visitors past 10 heritage sites connected by a golden
path and a visitor app telling the story of the Declaration of Independence
and the beginnings of Tel Aviv

“Independence Trail” is a joint project of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality,
the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage

- The Trail is about one kilometer long (0.6 miles) and features a
golden track which will be illuminated at night.

- The route begins at the First Kiosk of Tel Aviv, at the
intersection of Rothschild Blvd and Herzl Street, one of the most central
spots in Israel.

- The Trail will be launched on the 70th Independence Day
Celebration (18.4.2018) and will be open free of charge 24/7.

- Visitors are invited to experience the Trail with a unique mobile
app. Interactive information pages will appear on the visitor’s device at
each historical spot.

- Alternatively, visitors can guide themselves using a map in 8
languages (Hebrew, English, French, Spanish, German, Arabic, Chinese and
Russian).

- In addition, during Israel's 70th anniversary year (from April to
December 2018), visitors will be able to enjoy "The Israeli Democracy
Pavilion" - a unique 360 degrees film experience that unveils important
moments in the history of Israeli democracy.

- The site marks the birthplace both of the city of Tel Aviv (in
1909) and the State of Israel (in 1948)

The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the
Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage are proud to inaugurate a new national
heritage site in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day. Independence Trail
invites visitors to discover some of the nation’s most significant
historical monuments and explore its cultural and national heritage. The new
1km walking route will bring two stories to life that are central to the
story of modern Israel: The birth of Tel Aviv, the first Jewish,
self-governed, Hebrew speaking city, in 1909; and how Tel Aviv would make
way for the birth of the State of Israel 39 years later in 1948, fulfilling
a 2,000-year-old dream.

"Independence Trail" is located in one of the most central spots in Israel.
The streets along the Trail and its surrounding area are home to hundreds of
technological companies, dozens of restaurants, cafes and bars, the Israeli
Stock Exchange, global and national bank headquarters, art galleries and
posh residences. Yet the historic importance of this area far exceeds its
current-day popularity, and in many ways is the reason for it: at this very
spot, two crucial founding acts took place: the birth of Tel Aviv in 1909;
and the birth of Israel itself at 1948. On Israel's 70th Independence Day
these two stories will come to life as Independence Trail will be launched.

The building of the Trail demanded extensive infrastructure work that has
been carried out in the past months including the implementation of a unique
lighting system that allows visitors to walk along the trail at night.
"Independence Trail" was inspired by the "Freedom Trail" in Boston, one of
the most popular heritage sites in the United States. Visitors are invited
to experience the history with a unique mobile app, and at each historical
spot interactive information pages will appear on the visitor’s device,
explaining the point of interest and providing rich historical content and
background on the surrounding area. Alternatively, visitors can guide
themselves using a map in 8 languages (Hebrew, English, French, Spanish,
German, Arabic, Chinese and Russian). Independence Trail will be open free
of charge 24/7.

The Trail begins at the First Kiosk of Tel Aviv at the intersection of
Rothschild Blvd. and Herzl Street, and continues along Rothschild past the
Nahum Gutman Fountain, The home of Akiva Aryeh Weiss, The Shalom Meir Tower
(former site of the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, the first Hebrew-speaking
high school), The Great Synagogue, the Hagana Museum, The Bank of Israel’s
Visitor Center, the Tel Aviv Founders Monument, the Meir Dizengoff statue
and Independence Hall which served as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, at the
time of the historic ceremony where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the
establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.

Tourism Minister, Mr. Yariv Levin: "We are a proud partner of "Independence
Trail" that was established in honor of Israel's 70th Independence Day. The
Trail will provide tourists with an enriching urban and historical
experience, telling the story of the Declaration of Independence and the
beginnings of Tel Aviv. The Israel Ministry of Tourism works yearlong on
promoting Tel Aviv as a vibrant city combining sandy Mediterranean beaches
with culture, nightlife, architecture and history. I am convinced that
“Independence Trail” will be an inspiring experience for tourists who will
gain a deeper understanding of our heritage. "

Minister of Jerusalem and Heritage, Mr. Zeev Elkin: "We at the Jerusalem
and Heritage Ministry are happy to inaugurate Independence Trail together
with the Municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo in honor of Israel's 70th
anniversary. Tel Aviv, the First Hebrew City is named after the Hebrew title
of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland, outlining Herzl's vision for a Jewish
state in the Land of Israel. In accordance with its name, the history of Tel
Aviv embodies as a microcosm of the history of Zionism and the young State
of Israel. The new attraction will allow everyone, Israeli and tourists, to
dive into the fascinating chapters of the story of the establishment of the
State of Israel, right at the center of Tel Aviv. "

Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Mr. Ron Huldai "The 70th anniversary of the
independence of the State of Israel is an excellent opportunity to combine
two miracles in the history of the Jewish national movement - the
establishment of the first Hebrew City and the establishment of the Hebrew
State. Independence Trail also emphasizes the significant role of Tel
Aviv-Yafo, the first Hebrew city, in the realization of our national vision.
I invite tourists and locals to walk Independence Trail and visit the
historical area as well as the significant landmarks that contributed to the
fulfillment of the Israeli dream."

The Israeli Democracy Pavilion

In addition, during Israel's 70th anniversary year (from April to December
2018), visitors will be able to enjoy "The Israeli Democracy Pavilion" - a
presentation about the story of the Declaration of Independence. The
project, which is collaboration between the Israel Democracy Institute and
the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, takes place in a majestic structure on
Rothschild Boulevard, in which visitors experience a unique film in 360
degrees which unveils important moments of Israeli democracy. The
construction, located on Rothschild Blvd 1, will be surrounded by arcades
symbolizing the diversity and complexity of Israeli society. Selected quotes
from the Declaration of Independence will be showcased on the arches of the
Pavilion. Visitors will be invited to sign a pledge to uphold the core
values ??of the Declaration of Independence. Entry to the Israeli Democracy
Pavilion is free of charge. The Democracy Pavilion is expected to travel to
other cities in Israel after the end of 2018.

List of Heritage Sites:

The First Kiosk
Tel Aviv's First Kiosk was established in 1910 quickly became a central
meeting place. During the 1920’s around 100 kiosks operated in the city
under the association of the kiosk and soft drink store owners.

The Nahum Gutman Fountain
A famous mosaic made by Nachum Gutman, an Israeli artist who grew up in Tel
Aviv along with the new city, and reflected the simplicity of the early days
of the First Hebrew City. He was an accomplished illustrator, photographer
and writer and was awarded the prestigious Israel Prize in 1978. The mosaics
around the fountain tell us the history of Jaffa – the ancient port city
from which Tel Aviv was born.

Akiva Aryeh Weiss’ House
The home of Akiva Aryeh Weiss, founder of the Ahuzat Bayit neighborhood,
which later evolved into the First Hebrew City - Tel Aviv. As President of
the then newly established Building Society, Weiss presided over the 1909
lottery in which 66 Jewish families drew numbers written on seashells to
determine the allocation of lots in the about-to-be established city of Tel
Aviv.

The Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium
The site of the first Hebrew-speaking high school and the beating heart of
the city. The building on Herzl Street was a major Tel Aviv landmark until
1962, when the site was razed for the construction of the Shalom Meir Tower.
The destruction of the building sparked widespread recognition of the
importance of conserving historical landmarks. Today the Shalom Tower is
home to a visitors center about the history of Tel Aviv, which is open free
to the public on weekdays.

The Great Synagogue
The spiritual and religious center of the First Hebrew City located in the
heart of the business and financial center of the city. The building
features a huge dome, elaborate lighting fixtures, and magnificent stained
glass windows.

The Haganah Museum
The Haganah Museum is located in the home of Eliyahu Golomb - the founder,
and de facto commander of the Haganah. In 1930-1945, the Haganah's secret
headquarters were located in his house. Golomb's residential room and office
on the ground floor as well as the exterior of the house were preserved in
full. The Haganah Museum will be open to the public free of charge during
2018, to mark Israel's 70th anniversary.

The Bank of Israel’s Visitors Center
The historical headquarters of Israel's national bank, which presents the
history of the financial system in Israel. The center presents the
historical development of money in Israel and displays an extensive
exhibition of banknotes and coins issued from pre-State days to the present.
The Visitor's Center will be open to the public free of charge during 2018,
to mark Israel's 70th anniversary.

Tel Aviv Founders Monument
The Founder's Monument and Fountain is dedicated to the men and women who
established Tel Aviv in the first half of the 19th century. Nestled into a
green space on Rothschild Boulevard, it is a serene spot, dotted with
benches and centered around a small pool and fountain.

Statue of Meir Dizengoff
The first Mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff, was known for riding his horse
from his home (which is now the Independence hall) to City Hall, and then
located on Bialik Street. As a part of the tribute to the first mayor of Tel
Aviv, a statue of Meir Dizengoff on his horse, created by the artist David
Zondolovitz, was unveiled in front of his historic residence, on Rothschild
Boulevard no. 16.

Independence Hall
The home of the first mayor, Meir Dizengoff, which he dedicated to establish
the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. On May 14, 1948, the house hosted the historic
ceremony of the Declaration of Independence.

Photos of Independence Trail available here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tel_aviv/albums/72157663722976447
Photo credit: Ricky Rachman

Free English tours of Independence Trail will depart from the information
center on Rothschild Blvd. 11 every Friday and Saturday at 16:00 starting
next week until the end of May.

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