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Embracing the Hidden Wonders of Tel Aviv

If you’ve ever been to Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station, chances are good that you either got lost in its dizzying abyss, or hurried through to your bus terminal in order to avoid a strange mix of odors and stickiness. Most visitors would not say they loved the experience. Yonatan Mishal is not ‘most visitors’.

Among various writing and teaching gigs in Tel Aviv, Yonatan guides tours of the infamous bus station, which he lovingly calls “the biggest white elephant in Israel.” The building, explains Yonatan, holds so many secrets – from the biggest Yiddish library in Israel, to a thriving bat population – and it is the maze-like architecture that initially attracted him to it.

“I remember the first time I saw the Central Bus Station in 1994, I was young, but even then I thought there was something very powerful [about it]. I got lost in the maze, and that feeling of getting lost is what turned me on about this place.”

Though the façade may be overwhelming, at 7 stories high, it is the mechanism within this behemoth building which Yonatan finds so enthralling. Home to countless storefronts and artisans from so many world cultures, it is so much more than just a bus station.

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