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Sarona – a Templer Village

When founded in August 1871 by a group of pious Christians who came from southern Germany German called Templers, Sarona (named after the Plains of Sharon) was a colony near Jaffa in the Ottoman Empire. It is now a neighborhood in Tel Aviv, Israel. It was one of the earliest modern, agricultural villages established in Palestine and was a model for the Jewish agricultural settlements.

At the end of the Great War, in November 1917, British troops occupied Sarona, commandeering buildings for military and medical use.  Eight hundred and fifty Templers were interned temporarily in Egypt at Helwan near Cairo, while, at home, the colony was plundered and vandalized. Compensation was eventually paid.

The younger generation of Templars broke away from their parents’ religious belief, and were receptive to the Nazi German nationalism. At the beginning of World War II German colonists were rounded up by the British authorities and sent, together with Italian and Hungarian enemy nationals, to internment camps in Waldheim and Bethlehem of Galilee, and were eventually deported.

The former Sarona houses were taken over by the British army and mandatory government.

In December 1947 the British handed over the Sarona camp to the Jewish leadership. As British troops left Sarona, the homes and army barracks now became the seat of the newly formed Israeli government offices. The new camp was called ‘Mahaneh Yehoshua’ (Camp Yehoshua). Ben Gurion changed the name from Sarona to “Kirya”.

Thirty six historical buildings were preserve, returned to their façade at the time of the Templer settlement. The rest of the buildings were demolished. Five Templer buildings were relocated.

The Sarona compound is now a center for culture, leisure and shopping. A visitors’ center retells the story of its history.

Tel Aviv’s newest leisure and culture oasis

Sarona -new-map
Sarona -new-map

Sarona Visitors’ Center

The Visitor Center, situated at 14 Albert Mandler Street, tells the many stories and anecdotes of the Templer Colony, the British Mandate and the early Israeli government.

Sarona’s attractions: Gallery, tours, the Mill House, Opticana Museum, Underground Tunnel, Water Wheel, Oil Extraction Museum

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