The Jaffa Museum is an amazing piece of history. Hovering atop a hill in the Old Jaffa quarter near the sea, the building itself is from the Ottoman Empire, and is built on top of a 11th -century Crusader fortress. Because of this, it displays two forms of art: ancient archeology, and contemporary artwork. Admire the amazing archeological feats of the Ottomans, while simultaneously appreciating more contemporary work.
Among the highlights are an 8th-century BC transcription of Sennacherib, King of Assyria (reigned 705-681 BCE), as well as personal items belonging to a Jewish family who lived in the area during the Roman Empire some 2,000 years ago.
The permanent artifacts showcase the rich and varied history of the many civilizations that conquered Jaffa throughout its long history, starting with the Stone Age and moving onwards to the Canaanites, Egyptians, Persians, Philistines, Phoenicians, Greeks, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and the British. Each culture has left its mark on Jaffa and the museum devotes special attention to some of the artifacts and archaeological objects that they left behind.
Under the Ottomans, the building served as an administrative office for Jaffa and the seat of the governor of Jaffa, Mohammed Agha (Abu Nabbut). During the Ottoman era it also housed a post office and prison holding cell. In the 18th century, the Ottoman authorities moved into a new building in Clock Tower Square (Saraya House).
In 1733 the Demianis family, a well-known Christian family bought part of the building and converted it into a soap factory. The soap factory compound (Assarayah al Atiqa) building was abandoned during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948 and fell into disrepair until being restored and opened as a museum. Today the structure houses the museum, an Arab-Hebrew Theatre and an unused section. If visiting the Jaffa Museum independently be sure to call ahead as they often close for special groups or events.
The Old Jaffa Museum of Antiquities is shining example of the long and complex evolution of Jaffa…and how it continues to evolve each day.
Address: (Old Saraya House) Mifrats Shlomo Promenade 10
Tel: 03- 6825375
Opening Hours: Wed, Thu: 11am–7pm; Fri, Sat: 10am–2pm