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Israel’s best markets

A few recommendations for the best market scenes in Israel
by: Israel Traveler   |   16.01.2012
The vibrant activity of the Carmel Market and the magnificent art and craft works at the Nahalat Binyamin Artists’ Fair, the finds in the Jaffa Flea Market or the Druze Daliyat al-Carmel Market, the special atmosphere of the market in the Old City of Jerusalem and the cafés and restaurants that are hidden in the alleys of the Mahane Yehuda Market. Six recommendations for markets which you should not miss out on in Israel.

The strong smells of the Carmel market can be detected already from the small alleys leading to it- the fresh fish and vegetables and the newly baked breads blend in with the many people who come here, sellers and buyers alike. The Carmel market is named after the Carmel Street in which it is located, between Magen David square (at the intersection of King George, Sheinkin, Nahalat Binyamin and Allenby Streets) and HaKovshim Garden and the Carmelit bus terminal. Besides the busy market’s main stalls street, there are lovely picturesque alleys in the vicinity of the market through which one can walk all the way to the beach. In the Kerem HaTeimanim (The Yemenite Quarter), one of the neighborhoods adjacent to the market, there are popular and unique restaurants. Walking around on a summer day at the Carmel market is a wonderful experience of scents and tastes, even if you are not planning on doing your weekend shopping there.

Near the colorfulness of Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market and the modernism of Sheinkin Street is the picturesque street of Nachlat Binyamin, on the pedestrian-only northern section of which takes place the biggest Arts and Crafts Fair of its kind in Israel. The fair, also the first and oldest of its kind in Israel, takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays and includes about 270 stands which offer original arts and crafts works made of wood, glass, cloth, plastic, metal, paper and stone. All works are made by the artists who also stand behind the stands, with the purpose of strengthening the relations between the artists and the consumers. On the sides of the street one can find colorful fabrics stores, coffee shops and restaurants and also street performances which take place here as well.

Even though numerous real-estate entrepreneurs have been coveting it for quite some time, the small Bezalel Market still exists and offers its visitors lovely finds. The Bezalel Market, which opened in the 1920s, is today bordered by King George, Bezalel, Beit Lehem and Tchernichovsky Streets. At some stage and up until a few years ago the Bezalel Market was filled with many Falafel stands, some of which were considered legendary. Today only a few of them remain, and most of the Bezalel Market is composed of stands which offer cheap clothes, shoes, jewelry and decorations, house ware, cleaning and sewing materials in a charming mixture. In the near future a new residential and commercial project is planned to be built here. One can arrive at the heart of the Bezalel Market through Beit Lehem Street. The Bezalel Market is open on Sundays – Thursdays from the morning and until the afternoon and on Fridays until midday.

The Flea Market in Jaffa attracts tourists and other visitors who look for bargains and second hand items and it offers various bits and pieces, cloths and furniture, new and old. This market is busy all year round and a visit here is an essential part of a nostalgic tour of the alleys of Jaffa. This market has been active here since the 19th century, a time when local commerce was flourishing and Jaffa served as a port city and as a center for pilgrims. In recent years renovation works were done here and the "Amiad Center” was founded, which now hosts exhibitions, fairs and shows. Galleries, artists’ studios and restaurants were also opened here. During the summer, the "Pishpeshuk” takes place here- an evening market which combines between shopping, amusing street theater performances, various musical performances, exhibitions, galleries and fascinating evening tours.

The Mahane Yehuda Market has become an icon in the life of the city of Jerusalem, about which were written many songs and literary pieces that describe its activity, atmosphere and colors. This market is a vibrant, colorful and loud mosaic which reflects the Jerusalem experience in particular and the Israeli experience in general. The Mahane Yehuda Market is the largest outdoor market in Jerusalem. It contains hundreds of stands which offer people their merchandise: fruits and vegetables, fish and meat, pastries and delicatessen, spices and pickles, nuts and seeds, conserves, fabrics, sweets and household tools. Visitors to the market will smell the spices, taste the juicy fruits and enjoy the loud characteristic singing of the stand owners. In this market one can find boutique delicatessens and up to date gourmet restaurants alongside local family stands.

Visitors to the Old City’s Market are met with numerous narrow stone alleys, loud cries of peddlers and strong scents and colors. The borders of the Old City’s Market are never clear but a visit in it is always enjoyable, surprising and new. The Old City’s Market is actually composed of a few markets that were connected together, which spread over the streets of the Old City and "trickle” from the Muslim Quarter into the Christian and Armenian Quarters. So what can one find here? Everything: from food, herbs and sweets, house ware, colorful cloths and clothes, Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious oriented gifts and souvenirs for tourist, as well as food stands, cafés, excellent humus and electronics. One can also find at the Old City’s Market many tourists, which give it a very cosmopolitan feel. The Old City’s Market is an oriental bazaar as one should be. The entrance to the Old City’s Market is through Sultan S?leyman Street or the Jaffa Gate. The Old City’s Market is open throughout the week.

Every Saturday many visitors come to Daliyat al-Carmel, which is one of the largest and most colorful and popular in the north of Israel. Here, on both sides of Daliyat al-Carmel’s main street (which is actually road number 672), stands and stores offer an abundance of finds of every type, color and shape: clothes and shoes, toys, house ware, souvenirs, musical instruments, sewing supplies, various authentic items, copperware, baskets, carpets and a lot of posters and framed reproductions. And among all these stores are found small places one can eat in, oriental restaurants and delicatessens with lovely sweet aromas. The Daliyat al-Carmel Market is indeed open throughout the week but it is the most active on Saturdays.
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