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The Orient Fair


The first Orient Fair (Yerid Hamizrach) held in Tel Aviv in 1932 was preceded by four smaller exhibitions. The Fair spanned various countries, and presented a golden opportunity to introduce the accomplishments of the Jewish Yishuv (community) in the field of industry. The first Fair was highly successful, thus it was decided that future fairs would be held in structures built especially for that purpose. Plots of land were allotted on the northern end of Dizengoff street, on the Yarkon riverbank. In 1934 and 1936 two additional fairs took place, this time in pavilions and halls constructed especially for the participating countries. The Head Architect of both fairs was Arieh Elhanani, who also designed the "Peoples Pavilion" and the sculptures Israeli Laborer and The Flying Camel, that has become the Orient Fair's logo. Richard Kaufman planned the pavilion lay-out and the "Local Produce Palace"; the "Histadrut Federation Pavilion" was designed by Arieh Sharon, and the "British Pavilion" by Joseph Neufeld. Galina Cafe was designed by Genia Averbouch, Ginsburg and Gideoni. The white pavilions were designed in the spirit of the International Style, and the majority of them consisted of clean blocks with few windows. As a befitting antithesis to the impervious rectangular pavilions, the Galina Cafe was designed as a rounded, transparent structure. Design of the Fair's pavilions a la the International Style contributed to its adoption as the type of architecture representing the Jewish community in the country. The Orient Fair expressed the desire to "open a window" onto modern western culture. Tel Aviv and its fairs were tantamount to a stage for displaying the accomplishments of the "Zionist enterprise" and realization of its visions and dreams. The fairs were also underlied by the local ambition to promote Tel Aviv to the status of other prominent cities hosting international fairs during the 19th and early 20th century. Following the 1936-1939 events and the outbreak of World War II, the fairs were no longer held. During World War II the Fair grounds were transformed into a British military camp. In the past decades the pavilions function as warehouses and garages, and the entire area has been neglected and fallen into oblivion.