Metropolis Explained: Tel Aviv

Standing surrounded by sand dunes, approximately 100 people begin to make history. The year is 1909 and, after taking part in a lottery, the more than 60 families of European origin divide the sand-covered area amongst themselves using shells they collected beforehand. In the following months they will breathe life into this dry place, which will now be called Tel Aviv – Spring Hill – and where now more than 400,000 people live.

Tel Aviv
About 100 people participate in a lottery to divide a 12-acre plot of sand dunes that would later become the city of Tel Aviv | Photo by Avraham Soskin

The photographer Avraham Soskin was there on that day of Tel Aviv’s founding: His 100-year-old photographs are proof of what you still feel today, i.e., that Tel Aviv is built on sand.