The city of Tel Aviv received flowers for its birthday — half a million blooms, to be exact.
A gift from the city of Brussels, the 500,000 dahlias were flown from the Belgian capital September 16 as part of ongoing festivities to mark Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary, a celebration that kicked off in early April and is set to continue in the coming months.
Unveiled by Freddy Thielemans, mayor of Brussels, and by Bénédicte Frankinet, Belgium’s ambassador to Israel, Tel Aviv’s temporary “flower carpet” was arranged by 100 volunteers over the course of seven hours, an effort overseen by a team of Belgian experts flown in with the flowers. Designed by Israeli artist Adi Yekutieli, the installation took inspiration from tiles and murals discovered in the homes of several of Tel Aviv’s founding families.
Covering slightly more than a third of an acre, the dahlias were grown especially for the Tel Aviv celebration and were displayed in Rabin Square, long a home to political rallies and other major events in the city’s social and cultural life. Delayed by a day because of complications with the flowers’ transport, the dahlia carpet was accompanied by a special audiovisual presentation and was scheduled to remain on display through the night of September 17.
Part of Tel Aviv’s ongoing Month of Art program, the Belgian flower carpet follows a series of other local and international events paying tribute to Tel Aviv’s first century. New York, Vienna, Copenhagen and other cities hosted public “Tel Aviv beach parties” during the summer months.
Last July, an estimated 100,000 Israelis attended an outdoor production of “La Traviata,” performed by Milan’s La Scala opera company, in Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park.
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