Old Jaffa, Ilana Goor Museum Ancient  in Israel

The Ilana Goor Museum Building in Tel Aviv

The Museum building stands on a hill in Old Jaffa and constitutes an architectural pearl and a work of art in itself with its unique view of the Mediterranean Sea. The Museum experience allows the visitors to depart on a fascinating journey which starts in the 18th century. The building was constructed in 1742, as the first Jewish home outside of the Jaffa walls,  by Yaakov Zonana, who served as the head of “Committee of Officers in Kushta” in Constantinople and took care of the financial debts of the Jewish community. The original function of the building was as an inn for pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Apart from it being a half-way stop for the pilgrims, it also served as a shelter protecting them from robbers, who roamed the walls of Old Jaffa. 

In the second half of the 19th century the building served as a factory for the manufacture of soaps and perfumes based on olive oil which was, at that time, a major export for the Land of Israel.

In 1949 the building was used in part as a synagogue for a community of Libyan Jews. In the fifties new immigrants from the Balkan States were housed in Jaffa and the Museum building also served then as housing, under difficult sanitation conditions, without a regular supply of electricity and water. In the seventies Old Jaffa attracted many artists who decided to live in the area and to open small, unique galleries there. Ilana Goor also came to the area and in 1983 purchased a small part of the ancient building which served her at that time as a private residence. At the start of the nineties she decided to open a Museum in Israel in which she would be able to display her artworks and her huge art collection. In due course she purchased the rest of the building without knowing what was contained in it. She immediately began intensive reconstruction work which took three years during which she found some sensational discoveries including pieces of actual information which verified records found in historical documents.