If you are planning a visit to Israel, you don’t want to miss this amazing city. You’ll enjoy taking a guided tour through stone-paved alleyways of ancient Jaffa (biblical Joppa), a port city that has been inhabited since about 7,500 BC. In fact, it is the oldest port to have been continuously inhabited in the world!
It is believed Jaffa was “born” right after the Noadic flood. Noah’s son, Japheth, built a settlement here and named it - “From these (the descendants of Japheth) the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands…” (Gen.10:5)
An Egyptian letter from 1440 BC talks about Jaffa’s conquest by Pharaoh Thutmose II, whose general hid his soldiers in gift baskets for the governor of the then Canaanite city. It remained under Egyptian rule until approximately 800 BC.
The Canaanite and Philistines each had a turn at trying to hold on to this vital port and entry to Jerusalem until King David reclaimed it. It was through this port that he and his son, King Solomon, floated in the cedars of Lebanon for the Temple. In 701 BC, Assyrian King Sennacherib invaded and took possession of the port (and all of Judah) from King Hezekiah.
After a time of Babylonian occupation, Jaffa was governed by the Phoenicians. Alexander the Great then conquered it in the late fourth century BC. The city changed hands frequently between the Maccabees and the Syrians until the Temple was reclaimed in the Maccabean Revolt in 165 BC.
As the power of the Roman Empire grew, it began moving eastward consuming every nation in its way. In 68 AD, Vespasian razed the city to the ground and erected a citadel in its place, installing a Roman garrison.
Visitors to this historically-rich city will have the thrill of seeing pieces of the many cultures that have resided here over the millennia! However, for Christians, Jaffa (biblical Joppa) holds extra significance. The prophet Jonah set sail for Tarshish from the port of Jaffa when he tried to run away from God. Simon Peter healed Tabitha the seamstress when in Jaffa. Simon Peter had a vision on the roof of Simon the Tanner’s house where God commanded him to eat foods that were “unclean”.
Among the sites to see are:
ST. PETER’S CHURCH - a Franciscan church built in 1895 over the remains of a Crusader’s fortress.
STATUE OF FAITH SCULPTURE by Dan Kafri on SUMMIT HILL – which rises 116ft. up above Jaffa port, with a commanding view of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
SIMON the TANNER’S HOUSE – where Simon Peter had a vision from God.
THE GOVERNOR’S PALACE - (the Saraya) built in the 1890”s.
Did you know that you can learn all about visiting Israel with just a few clicks of your mouse? Visit the official Israel Ministry of Tourism website at www.goisrael.com.