Gan HaGat, – literally in Hebrew “Wine Press Garden,” is a hidden Tel Aviv gem the old and new of Israel. Wedged between city buildings and accessible only by a small side street, the public neighborhood garden is relatively unknown. It is mostly visited by young families, their kids keep busy in the playground enjoying the slides and swings. But right up a small staircase rests an archeological discovery of a wine press from the Hellenistic period, around 400 to 200 BC.
The stone wine press includes a flat surface where the grapes would get stomped, a shallow silo to separate the waste, and a deep silo where the grape juice collected.
Stone pillars and millstones from the the same era are also present, scattered about the garden and often used as makeshift benches for visitors.
In the 1940s the garden was a transportation base for the British army, later for the Israeli Defense Forces when Israel received its independence in 1948. During construction began the tractors accidentally bumped into archeological remnants.
Archeologist Doctor Yaakov Kaplan spent a decade excavating the wine press and dated it back to the times of the great king and high priest Alexander Jannaeus. The Tel Aviv municipality developed the site for public use, planting olive, palm and pomegranate trees (all mentioned in the Bible among the “Seven Species”). In 1971 the site had its official reveal to the public and was declared a public garden.