Florentin, Tel Aviv

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Florentin
פלורנטין
Neighborhood
A street cafe in Florentin
A street cafe in Florentin
Etymology: Named after David Florentin
Coordinates: 32°3′27.33″N 34°46′17.61″E / 32.0575917°N 34.7715583°E / 32.0575917; 34.7715583

Florentin (Hebrew: פלורנטין‎) is a neighborhood in the southern part of Tel Aviv, Israel, named for David Florentin, a Greek Jew who purchased the land in the late 1920s. Development of the area was spurred by its proximity to the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway.

Predominantly a low-income Mizrahi Jewish neighbourhood, Florentin was initially populated primarily by poor Jewish immigrants from North Africa, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece and Bukhara. As with much of Southern Tel Aviv, for many decades the area has suffered from urban decay and poverty. However, today it also attracts many younger residents and artists, and the neighborhood is also associated with a bohemian life style. Florentin now has numerous artists' workshops, cafes, restaurants, markets and graffiti tours.[1][2]

History[edit]

Historic Ahavat Chesed ("Lovingkindness") synagogue in Florentin
Outdoor cafe and graffiti in Florentin

The land was purchased in the 1920s by the Salonika-Palestine Investment Company, founded in 1921 by Jews in Salonika to develop commercial relations with Jewish settlements in Palestine. After World War I, anti-Semitism in Greece reared its head, compounding the effects of the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 in which the city's Jewish quarter was destroyed, leaving over 53,000 Jews homeless. In 1924, the Salonika-Palestine Company sent an envoy to Palestine to purchase land in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv's Rehov Herzl, in an area bordering Neveh Tzedek and Ahuzat Bayit that was close to the Jaffa-Jerusalem railroad. Due to Ottoman land laws, building in the area was held up until 1933.[3]

Florentin was initially populated primarily by Jewish immigrants from North Africa, Bulgaria, Turkey and Bukhara. For many years, it was a low-income neighbourhood, suffering from urban decay. However, since the 1990s, with the opening of many artists' workshops, and the decline of the traditional garment and furniture production industries that had once sustained the area, it has become increasingly popular with artists and bohemians, who flocked to the area for its lower-rents.

Florentin was the setting for a popular TV series in the broadcast between 1997-2001 called Florentin. The series helped to raise awareness of the existence of the neighborhood and to establish it in the Tel Aviv consciousness as a young and vibrant neighborhood,

The area's atmosphere has led to comparisons with SoHo and the Lower East Side in New York City.[3] Florentin has numerous cafes, markets, bars and galleries.[4]

Economy[edit]

In 1933, the Jaffa Municipality allowed shops and light industries to be opened on the ground floors of the new residential buildings, providing a source of income for the wave of immigrants settling in Palestine at the time.Today it is a combination of industrial zone, garment district, marketplace and assembly point for foreign workers looking for jobs.[3]A gentrification campaign sponsored by the Tel Aviv municipality in the 1990s led to a revival of the area, which has become a trendy night spot.[5][6]

Art scene and street art[edit]

27 Club Graffiti in Tel Aviv celebrating personal expression

The area is known for its vibrant local-art scene. With the arrival of a bohemian community and the opening of many workshops in the 1990s, the mix of garages and abandoned buildings in the area, attracted many artists who used the areas' crumbling walls as a canvas for large works.[7]

Street art in Florentin often has strong political message. Local political conflicts between rival political groups have also taken place through graffiti battles on the walls of the neighbourhood.[8]

Graffiti as peace activism: The Peace Kids in Florentin depicting Israeli Srulik and Palestinian Handala embracing one another

Much of the graffiti is merely in text form, involving quotes of Hebrew poets, religious passages, and the dialogues taking place between different graffiti artists.[9]

The graffiti has also brought opposition from local residents, and concerns about the declining standards of the graffiti itself as the area becomes more mainstream.[10]

Street artists, such as Dede [11] and Klone[12] installation artists such as Sigalit Landau, and many others made the working neighborhood their home base.[13][14]

Demography[edit]

From 2001 to 2010, Florentin property prices increased by 65%, compared to 45% for the rest of Tel Aviv. The population nearly doubled from 3,900 people to 7,000 people, of which today[when?] 21% are in the 35–44 age range, 33.7% are between the ages of 25 and 34, and children up to 17 years old make up 7% of the population.

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tel Aviv Hipster Enclave Draws Gawkers - and Locals Are Pissed By Moshe Gilad, Jun 20, 2017, Haaretz
  2. ^ What Brings Tourists to Tel Aviv's Shabby Florentin Neighborhood? By Shir Reuven Sep 26, 2017, Haaretz
  3. ^ a b c "Florentin – from Salonika to Soho, Joanna Paraszczuk". The Jerusalem Post. January 14, 2010. Retrieved August 7, 2010. 
  4. ^ Mayer, Joel (March 7, 2009). "Tel Aviv Chic; Exploring Graffiti in Florentine". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved April 25, 2018. 
  5. ^ The Florentin Quarter: A Tel Aviv neighborhood not to be missed!
  6. ^ Tel Aviv chic
  7. ^ The Street Art of Tel Aviv’s Florentin Neighborhood Elijah Shifrin, Updated: 29 November 2016
  8. ^ Political Graffiti Wars in a Tel Aviv Neighborhood By Dalia Karpel Mar 07, 2017, Haaretz
  9. ^ How To Deconstruct The Graffiti In Tel Aviv’s Hippest Neighborhood Aviya Kushner, March 17, 2017, The Forward
  10. ^ Tel Aviv Hipster Enclave Draws Gawkers - and Locals Are Pissed By Moshe Gilad, Jun 20, 2017, Haaretz
  11. ^ Aharoni, Inbal (August 11, 2011). "The luck of the draw". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved April 25, 2018. 
  12. ^ Hannah Stouffer (December 23, 2013). "Alfred Gallery". Juxtapoz. Retrieved April 25, 2018. 
  13. ^ Boulos, Nick (October 5, 2013). "Show and Tel Aviv: Israel's artistic coastal city". The Independent. Retrieved April 25, 2018. 
  14. ^ Forester, Fischler, Shmueli, John, Raphael, Deborah (2001). Israeli Planners and Designers: Profiles of Community Builders. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 33–41.