UrbEx - The Orchard House #1

PROJECT #1 - Friday 8th, March 2019

What a sunny day for an urbex adventure. The same morning, I just got hysterical and bought a brand new GoPro (Hero 7 Black). My friend Lucas is always up for fun, risk, adventures and exploration. We met around 3PM, in the South of Tel Aviv. I have targeted this building a while ago. One of my dearest friend actually live across the historic building, and I got used to look at it while smoking a cigarette and wander... what's the story behind those walls?

It was hard to find a normal access to the building. Eventually, we've found this tiny alley. Nothing complicated: we just had to go through the iron barricade... and let the adventure begin.

The "Well House"

No squatter, no one. Only the sun penetrating through the wholes in the walls and collapsing ceiling.

This was the well house of an Orchard owner, living in the area between the 19th and beginning of 20th century. This building is part of others remains located in southern Tel Aviv and Jaffa, reminding us of a Tel Aviv becoming hard to imagine: a city of orchards, magnificient citrus grove flourishing outside the walls of southern town. This was an unique phenomenon to the city.

Dr. Aviv Sasson examined the phenomenon of "wellspots". They are a testimony of the thousands of dunams of orchards that no longer exist. The study presents more than100 sites, most of them well houses. A typical house would include an irrigation pond, a water system transportation and a residential building. These kinds of buildings were built by rich Jaffa inhabitants, Churches and Jewish pioneers in the middle of the 19th. They were mainly located in southern Tel Aviv or Montefiore, but you could also find them in Holon or Netanya.

In the last century, this idiosyncratic building became a workshop. Most recently, the building simply became a squat. The façade of which was destroyed in 2014, while the municipality started working on a real-estate project in Herzl 140.

Despite the growing awareness on the issue of preservation, the wellhouses have continued to be destroyed in recent years. For example, the historic building on Florentin 2, was demolished in favor of a real-estate project. The very prestigious "Florentine Quartet" was build on the ruins and remains of a historic orchard and well house. Today some elements have been reconstructed, such as fences penetrating the Landwer cafe, which reminds us... somehow... that there used to be life before.

GoPro Video of our visit:

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