The Dolphinarium, which is located alongside the beach in Tel Aviv, opened in 1981. It immediately became a popular attraction for Israelis and thousands stood on long lines to see the show. At night, its spotlights lit up the skies over the city. According to what I read, earnings from the first month of operations were enough to cover all the construction costs. In 1985, after some financial shenanigans by the investors, the Dolphinarium closed.
The video below shows a brief look at the Dolphinarium today.
After the closing, several entrepreneurs tried different venues to keep the place alive. One of these new venues was a discotheque which was very popular with young Israeli’s.. On June 1, 2001 a suicide bomber, Saeed Hotari, a terrorist linked to the Palestinian group Hamas, blew himself up outside the discotheque. One Israeli soldier and 20 civilians, mostly teenagers whose families immigrated from Russia, died in the attack. 15 of those murdered were 18 years old and younger. One was 14!
The Dolphinarium stands alone today beside the Tel Aviv beachfront, as a reminder of the attack. The building is mostly abandoned, except for a small surf shop on the southern end of the building. There are plans to dismantle the remaining structure and develop the shoreline for beach visitors.
As was seen in the video, the Dolphinarium has become an open canvas for graffiti artists. Below is a look at some of their work.
(Reminder: Click on any image to begin the slideshow.)