Anorak | Tel Aviv’s New Central Bus Station: A Photo Tour Into Seven Circles Of Hellish Design

Tel Aviv’s New Central Bus Station: A Photo Tour Into Seven Circles Of Hellish Design

by | 4th, November 2013

main entrance

TEL Aviv’s bus station the New Central Bus Station (HaTachana HaMerkazit HaChadasha) was once the world’s biggest bus terminal.From the date of its opening on August 18, 1993 until 2010, when it was out-sized by Delhi’s Millennium Park Bus Depot, the seven-floor, complicated, user-unfriendly complex was number 1.

Simone Wilson wrote that the monstrosity is “home to an abandoned arcade, six underground movie theaters, a bunker that can withstand nuclear holocaust and an unfinished bus tunnel so overtaken by bats that it has been declared a nature preserve”.

Let’s look around.


Tour guide Yonatan Mishal says the pipes in the basement contain water and gasoline meant to keep the building self-sufficient in the event of a war.

Come friendly bombs.

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second floor


* The atomic bomb shelter in the basement of the Tel Aviv central bus station features a consecutive row of blast walls.

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* At first, the station was exciting and inviting. Passengers went to the first level for their buses around Tel Aviv. They shopped for clothes or shoes at brightly-lit shops. Businesses rushed to buy up space in the building, and eleven theaters were slated to open.

But the city under the roof soon began to resemble Detroit. Outside, sidewalks were shadowed by soaring concrete bridges that ferried buses to the station. The hold on construction, which lasted nearly twenty years, had eroded the neighborhood; any Israelis who could afford to left the area. Foreign workers from the Philippines and later, penniless migrants from Sudan and Eritrea moved into the neighborhood.

Inside, the Dan bus company moved its terminals from the bottom floor to the top in 2002. Without the departures hall on the first floor, the cinema plus the stores on the second and third floors were all doomed. Today, the top half remains a functioning station, while the bottom floors are outmoded except for what Horn described as a “nuclear Holocaust bomb shelter”—a room that can accommodate 15,000 people, and was used during the 1991 Gulf War, years before the station opened.


The dimly-lit Yiddish museum-library in the bus station.

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* Historian and architect Zvi Elhyani doesn’t like the thought of razing buildings barring absolute necessity, but he says he’d make an exception for the Central Bus Station. “It should be wiped off the face of the earth, the streets which it erased should be rebuilt. The Central Bus Station is an environmental hazard. If they’d chosen the right spot and created good architecture, that would be one thing, but in this case even the architecture is bad.”


A bookseller at a Russian language bookshop in the bus station.

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* Tel Aviv’s “new” central bus station is one of the largest in the world. According to the Tel Aviv city government, the station encompasses more than 750,000 square feet of floor space on seven levels,

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Posted: 4th, November 2013 | In: In Pictures, The Consumer Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink