JERUSALEM (JTA) — Tel Aviv is among the world’s top 10 cities for 2011 listed by the popular Lonely Planet travel guide website.
Lonely Planet puts Tel Aviv in third place behind Tangier, Morocco, in second and New York in first.
"Tel Aviv is the total flipside of Jerusalem, a modern Sin City on the sea rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill," Lonely Planet writes of of Tel Aviv. "Hedonism is the one religion that unites its inhabitants. There are more bars than synagogues, God is a DJ and everyone’s body is a temple.
"Yet, scratch underneath the surface and Tel Aviv, or TLV, reveals itself as a truly diverse 21st-century Mediterranean hub. By far the most international city in Israel, Tel Aviv is also home to a large gay community, a kind of San Francisco in the Middle East. Thanks to its university and museums, it is also the greenhouse for Israel’s growing art, film and music scenes."
The other cities on the list are Wellington, New Zealand; Valencia, Spain; Iquitos, Peru; Ghent, Belgium; Delhi, India; Newcastle, England; and Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Lonely Planet also selected its top 10 countries for 2011, ranking Syria in ninth place.