Walk along the limestone, follow the curves and the spices’ scent. Look up to discover the painted walls, colorful and abundant stands on each side. Baklava with raisins, nuts, chocolate or cinnamon, feel how they melt on the tip of your tongue, energizing you with their sweetness. Watch the rhythm, find the natural pace because it’s the only way to survive and live this amazing place. Can you smell the fresh baked Challah and Arabic sweets, can you feel your way to that hidden corner and discover the wander and magic, being there in the center of this micro cosmos, yet still having your very own place?
Welcome to Mahane Yehuda market, the center of the universe or at least the most exciting food center in Jerusalem.
Vibrant and lively on Fridays, this Jerusalem gem should be on your bucket list if you really want to experience and discover Israeli flavors and Arabic delights. Entering from Jaffa street or Agripas street, you will step into one the most hectic places on earth. This is not your typical laid back European market, where you can enjoy classic music or opera show as you sip your coffee or glass of wine. This market is an emblem of the hectic pace in Israel; no time to waste, busy, running, colorful, load and mesmerizing. As you step in you will be taken back the merchants shouts, announcing deals, sales, calling you with their tongues and sharp eyes, promising you their goods are the finest you will ever find. And of course it’s true; nothing like fresh veggies for your salad, fresh fish for Friday dinner, Arabic sweets, Baklava, buns from the oven, home supplies, fresh cut fruit cups, Mediterranean spices and many other delights alluring your senses.
In the midst of this craziness, you will find hip bars where you can have a beer and relax. Yep, exactly what you have just read-relax! Once you visit Israel you will understand that we are the only ones that can relax in a busy market on Friday. There’s something about Friday, food, beer and Jerusalem that has this kind of affect on us.
Take a seat, order your beer and watch the market breathing, you will feel you are witnessing something special, a moment that will never return, a moment in time that you will never forget. If you are still up for some exploring after this short break, get up, take your camera out and just click. click, click. The camera is a great way to tell the stories, colors and sounds of this great market and perfect for aspiring photographers such as myself. It is also a great way to learn about Israeli culture and religion. On Friday you will see religious men and women rushing to buy their challah for Shabbat and complete their shopping for Shabbat, while secular shoppers are more laid back, no hurry with tons of time to grab a beer and lunch before buying everything they need for the weekend. Remember Friday afternoon-Saturday night all is closed for Shabbat in Israel!
It’s the safest place so no worries for pick pocketing as well as being safe for the solo girls traveling alone!
So, is your camera all set?