Jaffa Port is considered to be one of the oldest ports in the world and has been in operation since the Canaanite period.
Today it is a fishing port lined with restaurants, hosts cultural events, and is a popular tourist attraction.
Legend tells that the Noah’s son Japhet (Yafet) built the port before the flood and that the city of Jaffa is named after him.
Hellenist tradition says it comes from the name to Iopeia, or Cassiopeia, mother of Andromeda.
According to Greek mythology, this is the site of the story of Andromeda.
The story goes that Cassiopeia boasts that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids.
Poseidon didn’t take this well and sent the sea monster Cetus to ravage the coast of Jaffa.
The King consulted the oracle of Ammon, who the king he had to sacrifices his daughter to appease the monster.
So, Andromeda was chained to a rock by the sea – and today guides will point out which rock this is.
However, Perseus see saw her on his way back from killing Medusa and fell in love with her.
So he slayed the sea monster with his magic sword , married Andromeda, and took her back to Greece where she became his queen.
This story is not Old Jaffa Port’s only claim to fame.
This is also the port which Jonah (Yona) fled from.
“And Jonah rose up to flee from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Jaffa, and found a ship going to Tarshish”
Since ancient times this was an important port along with near by Ashdod Yam.
The Port of Jaffa was the main port of of the Land of Israel until the inauguration of the Port of Haifa in 1933.
Because the port of Jaffa is shallow, since it lacked a natural bay, the ships could not come directly to port.
Instead, they loading and unloading on barges that were brought into the dock with the help of small tugboats.
The passengers were also unloaded into boats in the open sea that was and sailed back to shore.
The port of Jaffa served as the shipping port for this export, and in the early days of Jewish settlement the main export industry was citrus. Namely, oranges the which became known around the world as ” Jaffa oranges”
With the beginning of the First Aliyah, the port was a gateway to the Land of Israel, through which many of the people were absorbed.
When the port of Haifa opened as a deep-water port where ships could dock, passenger ships from the ports of Tel Aviv and Jaffa have been diverted to Haifa.
The fifth aliyah immigrants come through it.
Then, when the Port of Ashdod opened in 1965, the activity of the Port of Jaffa was stopped together with the Port of Tel Aviv as shipping ports.
So, Jaffa Port it became a fishing port.
In more recent decades the port has become a a chic place with restaurants and events and is frequented by both locals and tourist.
Visit Jaffa Port
Old Jaffa is easily accessible by bus (though there isn’t a direct bus from Jerusalem) and can be walked to from many popular sections of Tel Aviv.
See the Old Jaffa website for a list of events taking place.