Jerusalem Marketplace

Hebrew and Arabic Marketplace

A Jerusalem marketplace has not lost its feeling for trading. In western countries big shopping malls took over from smaller marketplaces. Visitors coming from such countries want to experience an authentic marketplace. It is very different from a shopping mall. Western style shopping is a very cold experience. There is not a lot of contact between buyers and sellers.

Spice Store by Brian Jeffery Beggerly ©
Shopping malls can be very luxurious. They have restrooms with running water and flush toilets. The air conditioner is set to keep the temperature cool. The sales assistants are neat and polite. Each item has a price and is tagged. The shopper chooses an item, pays and leaves. The whole process is easy and very comfortable. A Jerusalem marketplace in the Jewish or Arab quarter is a different experience.

Arab Market

In the Arab Quarter of the Old City there is some very interesting trading. This Jerusalem marketplace is spread out over the streets. The Arab residents have sold produce here since the year of 1152 AD.

The street names show the goods sold. For example there is the Suq el-Lahamin. Suq el-Lahamim means butcher street. The street has been in use since 70 AD.

There is a market street that is a delight to visit. Suq Aftimon means street of spices.

This street is packed with every spice imagined. Before getting to Suq Aftimon the smell of spices is in the air. The colors alone are a feast. Red, orange, green and brown powders are piled high. Row after row of whole spices waits to be weighed. The merchants are specialists in their trade. The careful visitor may find small crystals of precious frankincense to buy.

Near here the most delicious sweets are sold. This is the place to buy rich pastries. These delicate pastries are handmade. They are filled with nuts and spices. Pastries made in Jerusalem are syrupy and sweet. Often the pastry is flavored with cardamom, rosewater or cinnamon. Walking through the market streets there is a mix of smells. Strong coffee and tobacco smoke mix with the spicy sweetness of pastries.

Souk in Jerusalem by Jacob Rask ©

Jewish Market

Another famous marketplace is the shuk Machane Yehuda. It gets its name from the neighborhood it is in. The neighborhood was started in 1887. The market was approved in 1928. The Machane Yehuda market is on Yaffo Street. Until about ten years ago the street was cobbled. The rain made it very messy. Tiles replaced the cobblestones. This makes the market area cleaner.

It is said anything can be found at Machane Yehuda. Going to the shuk takes care of every item on any list. All the produce is neatly stacked and laid out. It is easy for shoppers to stroll around the market. There are many different goods to buy. Meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, household appliances and more are available. It is not necessary to go anywhere else to shop.

The Mechane Yehuda is used by many different people. People come from all over the city to shop. There are shoppers from the old quarters and the new districts. It has a good market atmosphere. This is a place for all the locals and visitors to mix. People love the tasty cooked foods, fresh produce and cheap prices. Visitors leave the shuk with the sound of Hebrew and Arabic in their ears.

Center of Life

The marketplace is the heart of life in the Old City. All the people living in this area depend on the markets. Visitors to the city can experience the real feel of the city in the market areas. The markets are in the open air. This makes them even more special. A visitor is able to take really good photos in a marketplace. However, It is polite to ask permission before taking photos.

It is not only good photos that the visitor will get. There is a choice of interesting gifts. It is convenient to buy most gifts in one place. Many of the products are handmade or attractive copies. Spend some time looking through the wares and uncover beautiful gifts and unique Jewelry items . Colorful small items from a genuine Jerusalem marketplace will make perfect gifts from the Holy City.

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