• LOCATION 7 | The Trail of Independence: Tracing the origins of modern Tel Aviv

    Founders Monument

    Founders Monument on Tel Aviv audio tour The Trail of Independence: Tracing the origins of modern Tel Aviv

    Stop in front of the monument. You’re looking at the names of the families who founded Tel Aviv.

    The founding families of Tel Aviv purchased a vast lot of land together on the outskirts of Jaffa. In April 1909, they gathered on the sand dunes that they bought to see where each family would build its new home. They needed to divide the land between them, but how can you divide the land fairly? They decided to draw a lottery.

    Kids were sent to gather seashells from beach - white seashells and black seashells. In the white seashells, they wrote down the names of the families. In the black seashells, they wrote down the numbers of the lots of land that they parcelled out on a map. One kid drew a white seashell, and another drew a black seashell. That’s how Tel Aviv started - from a seashell lottery.

    The inscription is in Hebrew, so I’ll tell you that the monument bears the names of Akiva Arye Weiss and Meir Dizengoff. Also, right at the end of the list, you can spot a name that appears twice. That’s Chelouche - my family. My Great-great-grandfather and his brother were among the founders of Tel Aviv. They built their houses next to each other - that was later designated as 9 and 11 Rothschild boulevard. That’s amazing, considering that the location of the first houses was decided by lottery. Divine intervention? Sheer luck? Or maybe a bit of manipulation? We’ll never know, but the important thing was that the two brothers became neighbors, like they wanted.

    Now, let’s go over to the other side of the monument. Walk around it to get to the other side. Stand between the monument and fountain.

    The engraving on the Founders Monument depicts three layers in the history of Tel Aviv. The first layer, at the bottom, shows the wheelbarrow pushers, who levelled out the sand dunes for the first houses of Tel Aviv to be built.

    The second layer, in the middle, shows Tel Aviv in its first years - the first school, that was demolished, the first water tower, that used to be right where you’re standing, and one of the first house. The third layer of history shows the important site in Tel Aviv in 1949. That’s when this work of art was designed.

    Now look closely. At the top of the engraving, there’s a secret, additional layer - skyscrapers.

    These were nowhere to be seen in 1949. This was the pure imagination of the artist. This could be seen as the vision of what Tel Aviv would become. Turn your back to the monument. See the skyscrapers? The dream has come true.

    When you’re ready, continue on Rothschild Boulevard along the brass stretch embedded in the pavement. Cross the road to get to 23 Rothschild Boulevard.

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The Trail of Independence: Tracing the origins of modern Tel Aviv