Jaffa street is one of the most prolonged and most ancient main streets in Jerusalem. It intersects the city from east to west, starting from the Old City walls until downtown Jerusalem, the westward entrance of Jerusalem and the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. It is filled with stores, shops, and eateries. Jaffa street constitutes the Downtown Triangle central business district together with Ben Yehuda Street and King George Street.

Jaffa street, the view from the roof

The significant landmarks along Jaffa street are the following ones:

  • Tzahal Square is also known as IDF square
  • Safra Square is the city hall
  • Zion Square
  • Davidka Square
  • The triple intersection, i.e. Hameshulash, with King George V Street and Strauss Street
  • The Ben Yehuda Street pedestrian mall
  • The Mahane Yehuda Market
  • The Jerusalem Central Bus Station

Jaffa street has been restored as a car-free walker road, which is crossed by the Jerusalem Light Rail, and it is crowded with many shops.

Historical Records Of Jaffa Street

In 1861, Jaffa Road was gravelled, initially being a part of the highway to Jaffa. Then, the road quickly became a central point for the 19th-century downtown outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls. The most ancient neighbourhoods of Jerusalem were the Russian Compound, Nahalat Shiva, and Mahane Yehuda, and they developed around Jaffa Road as well as the famous hospital Shaare Zedek. The fact that Jaffa street was very central rapidly made her one of the best locations to reside; hence it became very requested in the real estate market in a beautiful city in full development and expansion.

In the beginning, the traffic involved mainly camels and mules; the route was finally developed adequately to allow the transit of horse-drawn carriages. The German Templers, who settled in Jerusalem establishing the German Colony, were the first ones to introduce a regular coach service on the roads to Jaffa. During the British Mandate period, the street was more elegant. It included many central institutions, such as the city hall, the city’s main post office, the Anglo-Palestine Bank, and the Generali office building.

Old Jaffa street in the evening

The buildings on its easternmost end were built along the Old City walls, and in July 1944, they went destroyed. During this period, the street assumed its modern appearance. It became the centre of the city’s developing inner business district as most parts of the businesses left the Old City. During the city’s 19-year conflict between Israel and Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Old City was separated from the majority of modern Jerusalem, and Jaffa Road’s became very important as the real city-centre of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Municipality, the main post office of the city, and the Mahane Yehuda Market were and even nowadays are located on Jaffa street. Since it has always been a very busy boulevard, it has been targeted by terrorist groups. Unfortunately, some of the most devastating terror attacks since the last part of the 1960s took place on this street. For more than a hundred years, Jaffa Road became Jerusalem’s central artery.

Jaffa Street, tram and restaurant

The municipality tried to solve different problems in the city centre employing specific solutions to rebuild the street; Jaffa Road was limited only to public transits such as buses and taxis, to avoid traffic jams; hence the area became the focal point of a new city planning to improve the downtown. Therefore, in 2004, a tunnel has been dug under Tzahal Square to allow the city’s central north-south highway to detour it. New functional pathways were created under one side of the road to fit the new system, which was also extended. One hundred eighty properties were removed to allow the road’s improvement.

The Jerusalem Light Rail started to function in 2011. At the westward edge of Jaffa street, in front of the Central Bus Station, it crosses Jaffa Road through Santiago Calatrava’s Chords Bridge, which functions as an architectural bright spot of the area.

Information About Jaffa street In Jerusalem

Jaffa Street has been the main street of Jerusalem for several thousands of years, and it maintains that performance also today. Besides the light rail, there are many small side streets around Jaffa street, which is full of people all day long, crowding the many stores, cafes, eateries and bars of this fantastic street. Moreover, in the evening, the Yafo area becomes the main centre of Jerusalem nightlife. It hosts famous pubs and clubs such as Mike’s Place, Sira Pub, Hataklit and much more.

Jaffa street represents a charming blend of historical buildings, several restaurants, and original shops. Along its route, there is the famous Mahane Yehudah Market and Ben-Yehudah walker marketplace. In front of them, there is the Ultra-Orthodox centre of Mea Shearim. The municipality building and Jaffa Gate are located at its eastward end of Jaffa street, the main gate to the Old City from the west part of Jerusalem.

It is very clear that Jaffa street is a place full of ancient history and modern structures that will never disappoint the visitor. Hence, it is more than recommended to add it to your list of landmarks of Israel to visit.