An example of Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv.
An example of Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv. Photo by David Bachar
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David Bachar
A Bauhaus building on Dizengoff Square. Photo by David Bachar

Tel Aviv has the highest concentration of International, or Bauhaus style, buildings in the world, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003.

In the 1930s, the seaside city saw an influx of German Jewish architects and designers fleeing the rising Nazi regime after the closure of the Bauhaus school. These new arrivals brought with them a functional, simple and stylish architectural language that was beautifully adapted to suit the Middle Eastern heat. Some of these buildings were raised on pillars to improve air flow and provide communal areas for residents who gathered together to enjoy the cooler evenings.

If you walk around the city you'll easily be able to spot their legacy, with buildings characterized by flat roofs, small "thermometer"-style windows that filter the heat, and long, shaded balconies for residents to cool off. The collection of over 4,000 buildings were painted white to reflect the sun, giving Tel Aviv its nickname - the White City.

After years of neglect, many of these elegant buildings have undergone restoration, and there are numerous “White City” architectural tours available from a variety of tour operators, including the Bauhaus Center, which offers weekly tours in English each Friday at 10:00, for NIS60. http://www.bauhaus-center.com. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Tourist Association also offers a variety of tours: www.visit-tlv.com.