Jaffa is one of the world’s oldest cities, with a harbour that has been in use since the Bronze Age. It is a city with a landscape that both shows and hides the conquests that have shaped its history.
Walking through the streets of Jaffa takes you through arched cobblestone alleys, past golden stone buildings bathed in sun, through streets with signs marked with zodiac symbols, the scent of ocean breeze lingering in the air – it is a mix of the surreal and intrigue that’s befitting of a 4,000 year-old port.
This city, invaded by many armies throughout history – from the pharaohs, Seljuks, Napoleon, British – is a city with a long timeline of battles, victories, and defeats. It is in many ways a focal point of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its pre-1948 Palestinian population displaced and not allowed to return. Today the city retains elements of this history, as Muslim, Christian and Jewish neighbours commingle, and at times this history is invisible, as seized homes become somebody else’s home or business. The city can both inspire and incite. Conjoined with bustling Tel Aviv (the city’s official name is Tel Aviv-Yafo in Hebrew), Jaffa is a collision of the past and present. The un-thinking visitor might only see the chic art galleries, creative theatres, pretty restaurants, hip flea markets and intriguing antiques.
I was born in Tel Aviv, and my family have only ever known this country, whether those who for generations lived in Jerusalem, or those who came from Morocco, Syria and Uzbekistan. It is a privilege for me to walk through Jaffa, while my Palestinian friend cannot even visit her ancestral home. It is also my home, and before leaving to live abroad it was the only place I ever knew. This is an essential part of Jaffa’s story that the visitor to my and my Palestinian friend’s home must understand. A beautiful place, Jaffa is more than a picturesque mixture of Arabic and Jewish culture.
I walked around Jaffa’s street wearing the beautiful (and extremely comfortable) Elsa dress by TAMGA Designs a colourful and vibrant sustainable fair-trade fashion brand consciously made in Indonesia using Tencel. To read more about this great brand head over to a previous post HERE.
Also wearing: Chanel: Classic Bag, Nine West: Sandals (which I stole from my mom).
Jaffa’s Flea Market and Bazaar (Shuk Hapishpeshim): An outdoor market where you can buy almost anything for low prices. Especially good for antiques. The flea market is a popular attraction for both Israelis and tourists and is open Sunday — Thursday, 9:00 am — 5:00 pm and Friday, 9:00 am — 2:00 pm.
Although Shuk Hapishpeshim, the local flea market, is a Jaffa icon. These days, new lifestyle boutiques are opening next to the diminishing number antique sellers. There are still plenty of picks inside the market’s alleyways such as Persian Jewish handmade rings, a circa 1930 Art Deco compact, and Bauhaus door handles. But as you weave yourself around the alleys you will also notice new contemporary designers.
al-Bahr (Sea) Mosque. Built in 1675, this is the oldest surviving mosque in Jaffa. Due to its proximity to the sea, it is still used by fishermen and sailors, as it has been for centuries.
Food: If you are looking for a great fish restaurant head over to Shabtai Hayafe. Tucked away just behind the main street street (Yefet Street) leading into the city. This amazing restaurant serves daily fresh fish which is prepared Mediterranean style (mostly grilled). The meal comes with lots of delicious salads and and to die for grilled pitta bread!
Another place to rest your legs for some food and a drink is Puaa, a cozy café filled with eclectic flea market furnishing and china where everything is for sale—from the plate you are eating off of to the chair you sit on. The food is great and so is the atmosphere!
The classics in Jaffa of course include Abu Hassan (1 Dolphin Street), there is no way you will be able to get a table there on a Friday afternoon (so make sure to go there earlier in the week) when what seems like the whole city shows up for its famously creamy (and incredibly delicious) hummus! Another not to miss classic is Said el Abu Lafia and Sons (Yefet Street 7) for the syrup-soaked Palestinian cheese pastry, Knafeh (heaven on Earth!).
In the above photo my usual all year round jewellery combination of rose gold and white gold/silver.
One of my new favourite pieces is the hematite and silver beaded RAW Copenhagen bracelet. This precious conscious jewellery brand is designed and handmade in England by Karina Johansen, who’s Danish roots run deep into her cool, elegant, and minimalistic designs. With a background in International human rights and international development (having previously worked for the UN, the Danish Foreign Ministry and OSCE) Karina is a big advocate for ethical sourcing and sustainable design.
RAW Copenhagen promotes both environmental and social sustainability and Karina sources the materials in accordance with these principles. Hence, the majority of the silver used in her designs is green or eco-silver, made from recycled Sterling Silver or sourced on fair trade like principles from small artisan silversmiths. All of the packing is also made from recycled and recyclable paper. RAW Copenhagen donates 10% of its annual profit from sales to support local mining and jewellery manufacturing communities. This year all of the brand’s charity donations will go to the indigenous Hill Tribe peoples of Thailand, some of whom have made the gorgeous charms and pendants used by this brand.
Stop by RAW Copenhagen wonderful shop HERE and used code “LITERALLYNATALY” to receive 20% off until the end of September. Make sure to also follow the brand on Instagram for daily wisdom! (their posts really make my day!)
Also wearing: Cartier: Love Bracelet (Pink Gold), Monica Vinader: Riva Hoop Cocktail Ring (Rose Gold Vermeil), Sydney Evan: Love Ring (White Gold), DeBeers: Wedding Band, Engagement Ring, Diamond Rose Gold ring given to me by my mom, BERG + BETTS: Rose Gold coloured watch sustainably crafted in Canada from surplus leather off cuts which would otherwise go to waste. You can read more about this watch brand in a previous post HERE.
Zodiac Allies: a network of restored alleys, full of art galleries, which lead to the Jaffa seaport. The alleys are named after the signs of the zodiac
Dessert: Capitolina Ice Cream is literally the best ice cream in the country! ( I am not even joking). They have delicious ice cream with unique middle eastern flavours including halva and malabi! They also have several sugar-free flavours with are just as delicious (I took my grandma there who only eats sugar-free ice cream and she made a point of that it is the best sugar-free ice cream that she has ever eaten).
Jaffa Clock Tower: Built in 1903, it is s one of seven clock towers built in Palestine during the Ottoman period. The Jaffa Clock Tower stands in the middle of Yefet street at the northern entrance of Jaffa, the ancient city that is now a part of the greater Tel Aviv.
I was sent pieces from TAMGA Designs, Raw Copenhagen, BERG + BETS, and the products are genuinely loved! Help support brands that support the environment to make it a social norm to shop eco-friendly.