In 1953, when Tel Aviv University was founded as the Academic Institute of Natural Sciences in the new state of Israel, it had just 24 students.
More than six decades on and Tel Aviv University, as it is now known, is Israel's biggest higher education institution, with more than 23,000 students. It has 2,200 academic staff members across nine faculties, 29 schools and 98 departments.
The university has produced internationally renowned research in various fields, from particle physics to genetics, and currently has around 130 research centres and institutes. It is also home to Israel's biggest supercomputer and has the only astronomical observatory in the Middle East region.
Once named Israel's most beautiful university campus, its 200 acres, situated in the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, contain numerous beacons of modern architecture and sculpture. One of its most notable architectural gems is the Brutalist-style Wolfson Building for Mechanical Engineering, designed by the US architect Louis Kahn, which continues to draw visitors from across the globe. Another striking building is the Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center, with its two central circular towers.
The Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery holds an impressive modern art collection, including works by Marcel Duchamp and Marc Chagall, while the Beit Hatfutsot Museum of the Jewish People has a permanent exhibition chronicling Jewish heritage and culture.
The city of Tel Aviv offers further cultural delights, and is the base of the National Theater of Israel and the nation’s oldest school of performing arts.
Notable alumni of the University of Tel Aviv include former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and filmmaker Alon Bar.