Petah Tikva

Go off the beaten path, and experience interesting history, a calm atmosphere, and peaceful nature, in the charming city of Petah Tikva.

Petah Tikva: the first Jewish town.

In Petah Tikva, just a short distance away from the bustling Tel Aviv, lies an opportunity to visit a peaceful and pleasant town, offering the best local Israeli experience, without the crowds and prices of the main tourist attractions.

Located just a few kilometers east of Tel Aviv, surrounded by agricultural towns and fields, is the pleasant city of Petah Tikva. As the first Jewish town in Israel, it features numerous interesting stories, a great vibe, and a beloved culinary scene. Here’s everything you should know before your visit to Petah Tikva.

The history of Petah Tikva

Petah Tikva was the first Jewish “Moshava” (town) founded in the Land of Israel, and therefore earned the nickname “Mother of the Moshavot”. The beginning of Petah Tikva was very difficult. At the first stage, the first settlers of the town lived in Jaffa with their families and would travel every morning to Petah Tikva, to prepare the place for habitation. One of the first tasks was digging a well, which would provide water for drinking – and also for watering the fields and cattle. The settlers, with the help of experts, put a lot of effort into digging the well, but it wasn’t until about a year after settling on the land that the settlers managed to reach a water source, and the first well in the settlement was inaugurated with great joy.

This joy did not last long: the settlers did not have proper training or agricultural knowledge, and they were not used to hard manual labor. During the winter, the water of the Yarkon River would flood the houses of the town, and during the summer, the mosquitoes spread the fever disease. Many died of disease – and to all these troubles were added robbery attacks and harassment by the Arab neighbors.

The renewed hope for Petah Tikva was brought by Baron Edmond de Rothschild in 1887, who decided to establish new colonies and also took the existing colonies under his protection, including Petah Tikva. Baron Rothschild assisted the settlers in draining the swamps and financing the defense of the town, and also provided professional training. He brought the colony agriculture experts, who guided the settlers and helped them establish orchards, as well as a grape vineyard and a winery. This has kickstarted a process in which Petah Tikva would go on to thrive, as it was finally established as a city in 1937, as the agricultural center of the region. Today, the first Moshava has become a thriving and growing city, with 250,000 inhabitants.

Best Places to visit in Petah Tikva

The best way to explore the city is by walking around in the city center, where you can find most of the best places to see in the Petah Tikva. Here are some of the best sites to visit.

Ha-meyasdim Square

 Ha-meyasdim Square is the site of the The first well of Petah Tikva. after two months of work, the first settlers of the city discovered water at a depth of 21 m/69 feet here. Here was the historical center of the town, as the original post office, school, and pharmacy were Next to the square.
In recent years, several elements have been added to the square to commemorate the beginning of the settlement, and you can see the statues of the founders of the city here.

The Great Synagogue of Petah Tikva

The Great Synagogue of Petah Tikva, was built from 1890-1898. At the front of the synagogue, which is facing west, are three sundials built by Rabbi Moshe Shapira, an ultra-Orthodox who specialized in building sundials. Two of the sundials display the time according to the half of the year we are in, and the third displays the time using a different method – the “point method”. Another clock on the front shows the time in Hebrew numerals, from sunrise to sunset.

Petah Tikva Market

Petah Tikva Market, located very close to the city center, is a bustling local market, with great dining options and high-quality products. As a local market, which is well off the beaten path, a visit here is a great opportunity to try authentic and affordable dishes. With a great extent of options, including Iraqi and Yemeni food, you are in for a real treat. So make sure to come here with an empty stomach, and try the local Sambusak, Kubbeh, and more.

Best attractions around Petah Tikva

Yarkon National Park

The Yarkon is the strongest and largest stream in the coastal area, flowing from the area of Petah Tikva to the Mediterranean Sea. Here, In the first kilometers of the Yarkon, up to the mouth of Kana River, the stream is clean and rich in flora and fauna, including rare species such as blue nymphaea, and Yellow Nuphar, the Yarkon bream, and several kinds of turtles. During your visit here, you can go for a nice riverside hike, bathe in the several pools and small waterfalls in the park, and do a picnic in the peaceful surroundings.

Antipatris fortress

Nearby the Yarkon River, in Tel Afek National Park, lies the historical fortress, alongside the remainders of The city of Antipatris, a large city that sat on Tel Afek, which was built by Herod in the first century BC and was named after his father – Antipater the Edomite, who was an advisor and commissioner during the Hasmonean rule. The city is built in a Roman style and you can see a few excavations near the citadel in light of the ‘cardo’ – the main street (which runs from north to south and is a characteristic of Roman construction). The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 363 and partially rebuilt in later periods.

The impressive fortress that you see today was built in 1572-1574 and includes four towers, one of which is octagonal, and impressive walls. The construction of the fortress destroyed most of the previous layers. However, during excavations, archaeologists have found  the governor’s house from the Egyptian period (15th century BC), as well as certificates written on clay tablets in several languages ​​testifying to the relations in the regional diplomacy during the period.

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