The al-Manshiyah Railroad Station in Jaffa was built in 1892 as part of the first railway in this area of the Mediterranean Sea, to connect the Port of Jaffa and Jerusalem.
The main reason behind its construction was the rising wave of Christian pilgrims, who arrived by the sea on their way to the holy city of Jerusalem.
This was one of the most important infrastructure projects executed in the last years of the Ottoman rule over Palestine.
The first building erected in this compound was the Station structure. The same plans were also used for the Jerusalem Railroad Station.
From an historic perspective, the Station’s location raises some puzzling questions. It seems that the Ottomans decided not to build the Station inside the Old City of Jaffa, nor even in the area near the port or its gates, but at a considerable distance from it, near the new Arab neighborhood of Manshiyah, which continued the scattered building in the northward direction and, as such, primarily served the main bulk of the Muslim population of Jaffa.
Nonetheless, it is possible to see that this compound was built between other settlement areas north of the American/German Colony of Jaffa and south of the Jewish houses of Neveh Shalom and Zerach Baranet. This location enabled the Station to serve all the local populations of the late 19th century.
After 1950, the area was seized by the I.D.F., which used it for many different purposes, such as offices, the main military sewing factory, soldiers’ barracks, the Ministry of Defense Publishing House warehouse, a weaponry museum, etc. In the 1990s, the Tel Aviv Municipality decided to return this central area, located between Tel Aviv and Jaffa, to wider public use. Our office was called to plan the preservation of the main structures inside the Station compound and to adapt them for cultural, leisure and vacation utilizations.
The site has several main historic buildings: the Passenger Terminal structure, the Cargo Terminal and other auxiliary structures. Over the years, these structures underwent many changes, not to mention suffering heavy man-made and natural damages, most of which were inflicted by the immediate proximity to the shoreline. Similarly, the adjacent Wieland Concrete Plant buildings were also preserved and restored.
After preliminary documentation of the buildings, their entire envelopes were restored and the buildings were prepared for their prospective tendering by the Tel Aviv Municipality for commercial, leisure and cultural uses.
The buildings were strengthened to withstand potential earthquakes and made handicapped-accessible, while carefully preserving all the architectural and decorative elements found on the premises and/or discovered during the documentation efforts.
List of structures handled by our office:
• Railroad Station structure (5).
• Railway warehouses – Cargo Terminal (4).
• Cement Factory (14).
• Fences and gates.
• Factory shop (12)
• Wieland villa (8).
• The “Arab House” (10).
• The “Red House” (8 a’).
• The wooden shack (9 a’)
• Structure 26
Project initiation: 2007
Project completion: 2010
Project Initiator: Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality
Project management: Ezra & Bizaron Company