The city of Tel Aviv, founded in 1909 as ‘Ahuzat HaBayit’, is located on the sunny Mediterranean shores, and is the second largest city in Israel. Locally, it is considered to be one of the most influential cities when it comes to both social and cultural matters, while internationally, Tel Aviv has a sway on financial and political aspects.
In 1949, Tel Aviv was merged with the old port city of Jaffa. Jaffa is home to an impressive array of churches, with a provenance dating back to Peter and the twelve apostles. Most of the churches are located in the Old City of Jaffa, allowing you to visit these beautiful historical sites without veering off the beaten track.
Churches in the Old City of Jaffa
St. Peter’s Church is one of the most prominent, visited churches in Jaffa. It features a notable bell tower, a rich history, and a breathtaking location allowing for an incredible view of Tel Aviv and beyond. The church is located on Kedumim Square, and has been used by the Pope’s representatives since 1993. Unlike the other churches, this church faces Rome, where Peter was sent, and the oil paintings on the walls describe the archangel Michael, who is believed to have come from Rome and appeared before Peter.
Behind St. Peter’s Church, you will find the Mar Michael’s Church, a Greek Orthodox church located above the Jaffa port. The church is opened on weekends, and is well worth the trip for its spectacular view of the port. Further down, on Yefet Street, you will notice other churches, including St. Anthony’s, an Italian Catholic church that was built in 1932, and is dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, who is considered patroon of the Franciscans. The church is built in a Neo-Gothic style, with a Gothic altar, tower with prominent turret and clock. The church, its garden and water well are overseen and tended by one Coptic, Egyptian Christian brother.
Another stand-out Neo-Gothic church worth visiting is The Emmanuel Church, a Lutheran church located on Bar Hoffman Street, it’s easy to find thanks to its red-tiled roof and turret, which serves as a bell tower. Close by is The Anglican Church, an English church built as a square tower, in a Scottish design is unfortunately closed to visitors, but its unique construction is visible from the street and a nice sight to pick en route to the Maronite church.
Situated on Yefet Street, the Maronite Church, serving the Maronite Arabic-speaking Christian community, from Lebanon is a key sight on the Jaffa churches tour. Close by is the Basilica of Annunciation (Sayida al Bishara), named after Mary and the Annunciation of Christ’s birth, which also serves the Arabic-speaking Christian community.
On Louis Pasteur Street you will find the St. Georgios Church, a Greek Orthodox church founded in the 19th century. Dedicated to Georgios, a Christian soldier who refused to participate in the oppression of Christians in the country, and was subsequently executed. He is therefore referred to as He Who Killed the Dragon, which symbolizes Satan and opponents of Christianity. Outside the building, you can see several depictions of the Saint riding a horse and defeating the dragon.
Outside the Old City of Jaffa, in the Abu Kabir neighborhood of southern Tel Aviv, you can spot another church named St. Peter’s Church, often referred to as the Russian Church. The church