Tel Aviv-Yafo (Tel Aviv-Jaffa), lying on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, is the largest metropolitan area in Israel, with a population of 371,000 (2006). Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 by early Jewish settlers on an area of sand dunes immediately north of the ancient city of Jaffa (Yafo); the name means 'hill of spring'. The city subsequently grew along the lines of a plan by the Scottish biologist and urbanist Patrick Geddes. Jewish settlement had begun in Jaffa in 1879, and the city was occupied by Israeli forces on the eve of the declaration of Israeli independence. The two cities were merged into one municipality on 4 October 1949 and given the name Tel Aviv-Yafo in 1950. Tel Aviv-Yafo is a major cultural and educational centre, as well as being the main commercial centre in Israel. The concentration of International Modern (Bauhaus) style buildings in the 'White City' district have been accorded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO.
Most embassies of foreign nations to the State of Israel are located in Tel Aviv-Yafo as Israel's declaration of united Jerusalem as its state capital has not been recognised internationally.