Tel Aviv Centennial Year (2)

The year 2009 was Tel Aviv's centennial year. Three stamps commemorating the event were issued; their colors – white, blue and green – represent Tel Aviv-Yafo's urban texture and uniqueness.

The centennial white stamp (#1):
The stamp represents Tel Aviv's White City – a collection of over 4,000 International Style (aka Bauhaus, though the two are not exactly the same) buildings built in Tel Aviv in the 1930s and 1940s by German Jewish architects who immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine after the rise of the Nazis. The International Style became emblematic of the city and its historic heritage, symbolizing its cosmopolitan, modern, sophisticated and energetic nature. Tel Aviv-Yafo boasts one of the world's largest groupings of Bauhaus style buildings and for this reason the city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003.

The effort which was put into general urban planning, into roads, streets and squares, turned Tel Aviv from the garden city it was originally planned to be, into a "white city" metropolis which to this day is still the centre of modern architecture in Israel.

The name International Style was given to modern architecture in Europe of the 20's and 30's. The style found its expression in the work of some famous architects, including Le Corbusier, Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Mendelsohn. The style is characterized by simple cube-like shapes, horizontal and vertical, flat roofs, smooth facades, rows of windows, concrete beams, various combinations of reinforced concrete, steel and glass, and a functional approach to architecture. Bauhaus architects rejected "bourgeois" details such as cornices, eaves and decorative details. Jewish architects, mainly from Central Europe, who immigrated to The Land of Israel in the 30's brought with them these concepts of modern architecture which they put into practice primarily in Tel Aviv. The city is referred to as the "White City" because of the white color used in Tel Aviv by its Bauhaus architects.

It was not simply a question of copying stylistic elements but of adapting them to local climatic conditions and to the requirements of the new country, so for instance, the big glass windows common in Europe with sparse sunshine were exchanged for deep balconies which created shade for inner rooms; the size of windows was reduced and the houses were erected on concrete pillars providing ventilation and cool shade, as well as greater garden space.

The centennial blue stamp (#2):
The stamp represents the location of Tel Aviv along the shores of the Mediterranean. The city's coastline stretches from the historic port of Yafo in the south to the newly renovated Tel Aviv Port in the north. Visitors travelling along the beach can experience the city's cultural diversity.

The centennial green stamp (#3):
The stamp represents the city's open green expanses, parks and gardens. The city founders initially intended to establish a garden city immersed in greenery and parks that would serve as a partition between the city's residential, service and public areas and its commercial and industrial sections. Today, the city sports many boulevards, gardens, and Ganei Yehoshua, the large municipal park along the banks of the Yarkon River.

The centennial stamps were issued in 2009; designer: M. Pereg.