Germany Underwrites Funding for Tel Aviv Heritage Center

New facility will consolidate preservation activities and enhance exposure to the architecture of the so-called White City.

Gili Izikovich
Gili Izikovich
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Bauhaus building on Lilienblum Street in central Tel Aviv. Credit: Eyal Toueg
Gili Izikovich
Gili Izikovich

The German government has undertaken to pay for establishment of a heritage center for the White City, the historical-architectural name of Tel Aviv.

The funding, totaling 2.5 million euros, will be transferred by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, to the Tel Aviv-Yafo Foundation, for construction of the center at the Max Liebling House on Idelson Street. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality will contribute a matching sum.

The agreement spelling out the details was signed on Sunday by the German ministry's state secretary, Gunther Adler, and the mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Ron Huldai, who is also the chairman of the foundation.

The new center will be built in 2015, which marks the jubilee year of the establishment of Israeli-German relations. The facility will coordinate all preservation activities in the White City, so named because of its wealth of buildings designed in the Bauhaus or International Style.

The money from the German government is intended to cover activities at the center, which will include efforts to expose the city's unique architectural heritage to younger generations, in the coming decade.

The buildings in question were designed by Jewish architects who were educated in Germany in the 1930s, and arrived in Palestine as refugees. About 2,500 structures are slated for historical preservation in the area, 981 of them part of a specific preservation plan for the White City.

In 2003 UNESCO declared the White City a World Cultural Heritage Site. This designation is celebrated annually in Tel Aviv at the White Night cultural events festival.

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