Jaffa's clock tower, three-stories high and crowned with an elaborate multi-gabled roof, was built in the beginning of the 20th century to celebrate the silver jubilee of the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Hamid the II*. The clock tower stood in an elongated and ample plaza that was built just outside the walls of Old Jaffa. The plaza bordered with al-Mahmudiyya mosque, Jaffa's major mosque, and with the Kishle (prison) that were inside the old city. To the other side of the plaza, a monumental government palace, the New Saray, was built to replace the Old Saray that was located inside the city walls.
Travelers to Jaffa, coming from the sea in the beginning of the 20th century, would walk on a new and paved quay, surrounding the steep hill of the old city. The first site they would encounter when finally arriving at the entrance of the city would be the clock tower and the neo-classical façade of the New Saray. The clock tower still stands as a welcome sign in the northern border of Jaffa. In 1965 it was renovated and colorful mosaic windows designed by Arie Koren to describe the history of Jaffa were installed.
* According to some sources it was built to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his reign.
Kark, Ruth. 1990. Jaffa: A city in Evolution. Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi Press, 47.
Or, Even, Peder, Shimon and Shaham, Zvi. 1988. Midrakhon Yafo: Madrikh leSiyur Azmi. Tel Aviv: Israel Museum.
Petersen, Andrew. 2001. A Gazetteer of Buildings in Muslim Palestine: Part 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 174.
ha-Sokhnut ha-Yehudit Plaza (from Hebrew: "The Plaza of the Jewish Agency", informal name: The Clock-Tower Plaza, historical name: Sakina al-Dawla, from Arabic: "The Place of Government"), Jaffa, Tel Aviv District