When Tel-Aviv was founded in 1909, Rothschild boulevard was designated to be its main avenue. Being at the heart of the city to this day, Rothschild boulevard is a major financial, commercial recreational and culinary center.
Rothschild and Rothschild Boulevard
In 1909 about sixty Jewish families purchased a sandy plot northeast of Neve Tsedek, wishing to establish another Jewish colony outside over-crowded Jaffa. Rothschild boulevard was defined as the main east-west axis of the new colony. It was named in honor of Jewish philanthropist Edmond James de Rothschild. Tel-Aviv developed quickly and within two decades its original single-story houses were replaced with eclectic and International-style / Bauhaus-style buildings.
Being such a central street in Tel-Aviv, from the 1960s high-rise buildings were added along the boulevard. However, strict rules of preservation were made to protect the historical buildings. Today entrepreneurs continue to the develop the boulevard, while restoring of its historical architectural masterpieces.
Touring Rothschild Boulevard
Shaded walkways, bike lanes and sculptures decorate the central part of the boulevard, and a variety of coffee places and restaurants offer various culinary experiences. The boulevard is one mile long, framed by Neve Tsedek neighborhood in the south, and Habima theater in its northern end. The boulevard is also an open museum of architecture, and especially of the local trends from the first half of the 20th century. Many buildings reflect the Eclectic or Neo-Oriental style popular in the 1920s, and then swept away by the Bauhaus or International style, introduced in the 1930s.
Among its notable buildings and monuments:
Nahum Gutman Fountain (Rothschild 1) – In 2010 at the southern end of the boulevard an ornate fountain presents detailed mosaic work of Tel-Aviv’s renowned artist Nahum Gutman. This work complements another masterpiece of Gutman, a Wall mosaic inside Shalom Meir Building Visitor Center which presents a visual review of Tel-Aviv’s early history.
Fogel house (Rothschild 12) – A two-story building of Avraham Fogel, who was the manager of the Russian post office in Jaffa. For the last few years, a conservation project intends turning the building into a boutique hotel, and built two high-rises above it. Opposite it, along the boulevard’s pedestrian walkway –
Tel-Aviv’s First Kiosk – A controversial stand for selling mostly sparkling water. Some early residents opposed it, fearing it would give the street a commercial character. Well, if only they saw the street a century later… The original wooden structure was removed in 1987 and replaced in 2004 with the current replica. It still offers flavoured sparkling water.
Independence Hall (Rothschild 16) – Undoubtfully the most significant historical building along the boulevard, and perhaps in all of Tel-Aviv. The plot was the home of Meir Dizengoff, Tel-Aviv’s first mayor, and later, after turned into a Bauhaus-style building, it was the site of the city’s first art museum. However, its historical significance stems for being the place where on May 14th 1948 Ben-Gurion declared the State of Israel.
Rothschild 18-20 – Two similar Bauhaus-style buildings unusually painted in light brown. Purchased by the Rothschild Foundation and nicely conserved in 2007.
Rothschild 22 – A modern skyscraper of cement and glass represent well the modern architecture taking over parts of the boulevard. Part of the building is boutique hotel (Rothschild 22) offering good service, great location, and great views from all its room. The building is also the Israeli headquarters of Facebook.
Rothschild 24 – An unappealing 1970s structure is worth mentioning only for its popular rooftop resto bar “Speak Easy”. Its neighboring Bauhaus-style buildings (Rothschild 26-28) are in desperate need for proper conservation.
Ginosar Hotel / Ben Nahum Hotel (Rothschild 32) – At the other corner, the 1921 Ginosar hotel was the first luxury hotel in Tel-Aviv. Its ornate eclectic style stands out, and especially its quirky dome. Restored beautifully in 2013, it is currently home of “Banking and Tel-Aviv Nostalgy Museum”.
Mayer Tower (Rothschild 34) – Another corner of Rothschild and Allenby houses the very modern tallest apartment building in Israel. Its rooftop penthouse sold for NIS 200 million.
Tel-Aviv Community House (Rothschild 42) – The corner of Rothschild and Yavneh street once marked the eastern end of Tel-Aviv. This building provided religious services in the early years of Tel-Aviv, including weddings celebrated on its rooftop. In 1965 it was purchased by FIBI Bank, whose headquarters towers next to the conserved building.
Levin House / The Russian Embassy (Rothschild 46) – Built in 1924 by Yaakov Levin, it is one of the most ornate buildings along Rothschild boulevard. In the 1950s it was used for a few years as the Russian Embassy. Beautifully restored, today is home of “Heseg” organization.
Later, Rothschild Boulevard bends to the north, and towards its northern end it presents a few more well restored historical buildings. Most notable are –
Angel House (Rothschild 84) – built in 1933, Angel house was one of the first Bauhaus-style building in Tel-Aviv. Furthermore, the use of pillars at floor level would be replicated in many other buildings in Israel.
Rothschild 88 – An ornate eclectic / Neo-Oriental style building founded in 1926 and restored with loving hands in 2008. It is noticble also for “The Choir” sculpture set on it front balcony.
Friedman House / Rothschild Hotel (Rothschild 96) – Another building following the eclectic trend of the 1920s. Originally built by Avraham Friedman, the chief Agronomist of James de Rothschild, today it is a boutique hotel carrying the name of the boulevard.
Shimon Stern House (Rothschild 104) – Built in 1928 it interestingly combines early elements of Bauhaus-style. It is also notable for being painted in blue pastel colors. Beautifully restored in 2015, today it is the headquarters of the Rothschild Foundation.
Rappaport House / Acum House (Rothschild 118) – Former home of Tel-Aviv’s mayor, Israel Rokah, was also the offices of Israel’s artists association (אקו”ם). Caring restoration presents its special 1930s Bauhaus design a remarkable way.
Aharonovitsh House (Rothschild Boulevard 117) – A “Classic” 1930s white-painted Bauhaus-style building, notable for its unique rounded stairway.
Rothschild 140-142 – Another Bauhaus classic, from 1935, restored already in 1999. Distinct rounded porches are its trademark.
Habima Theatre – “Habima” (Hebrew: the stage) theatre began operating in Bialistock and Moscow by Jewish performers. Its members immigrated to Israel in 1928 and settled in Tel-Aviv. Their theatre was eventually established at the northern end of Rothschild Boulevard, giving it “Cultural end”. The theatre’s original design, from 1935, was also Bauhaus / International in style. However, today, after several renovations, it looks quite different.
Notable Buildings Along Rothschild Boulevard’s North Side
David Moses House (Rothschild 13) – Built in 1925 for David Moses, Chairman of Argentina’s JNF, the building has a composite eclectic design. Today, in private hands, the building was well conserved, restoring its remarkable façade.
Golomb House (Rothschild 23) – Built in the 1920s, the house was home of the Golomb, Hoz and Shertok families, whose members were later in leading positions of the state. In the 1940s the house was also the headquarters of the Haganah Jewish brigade. Its subtle eclectic design was conserved by the state of Israel, and today the building is a museum of the Haganah.
New-York Hotel (Rothschild 25) – Intended to be a hotel (New-York Hotel), this building is another 1920s subtle eclectic design. It also bears several 19th century Ottoman architectural elements, borrowed from contemporaneous buildings in Arab Jaffa. Today, after conservation, it is an office building.
Moyal House (Rothschild 27) – This eclectic style building, from the 1920, was built by the industrialist Smuel Moyal. Nowadays it is the headquarters of El Al Israel Airlines.
Laderberg House (Rothschild 29) – At the corner of Rothschild and Allenby, the Laderberg house is one of the most ornate buildings of early Tel-Aviv. Built in the 1922, the rounded porches are decorated with metal balustrades shaped like a Jewish candelabra (Menorah). On the walls painted tiles artwork presents Biblical themes and local landscapes. At its ground floor operates the popular Benedict breakfast and brunch restaurant.
Despite Tel-Aviv’s never-ending development, Rothschild boulevard retained well its status as one always trendy, and one of the most beautiful parts of the city.
We recommend having a guided tour of the avenue as part of a guided day tour of Jaffa and Tel-Aviv.