There is a realtively new shop on Salah ed Din Street which is beautyfully decorated and has a great selection on spices. If you don't want to get lost in the Old City, looking for the spices you would like to bring home to impress your friends and family, this is the place to go.
Even the israeli Haaretz had a report on it:
A taste of the Muslim Quarter
By Michal Palti
"Muakat, an orderly, meticulously run spice shop opened on Salah a-Din about a year ago. Every imaginable spice, from lavender to saffron, is displayed on wooden shelves - one will not find sacks of spices resting on the floor in this establishment. Prices range from a few to hundreds of shekels per 100 grams, and the service is excellent"
What to buy: Spices, spices, spices...!
What to pay: range from a few to hundreds of shekels per 100 grams.
Since 1922, the Balian family has been producing authentic and original ceramics.
The Balians were one of three Armenian families brought over to Jerusalem from Kutahya, Turkey (by the British government in 1917) to renovate the ceramic tiles of the Dome of The Rock.
All Balian's pottery is made from local and imported clays at their studio in East Jerusalem.
Hours Open: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM [Closed Sundays]
What to buy: Everything you like.
Everything you have ever seen in a Middle Eastern souq can be found in the shops of the Old City. Since there is no shortage of tourists, many of which will overpay to have something "from" Jerusalem, the asking prices are very high. I write "from" because a lot of what is for sale is not made in Jerusalem. I know this because you see many of the same exact things in Turkey and Egypt.
The shop owners can get pretty annoying as it is hard to avoid them because of the narrow streets. In order to walk to the Holy Sepulchre from Jaffa Gate, for example, you will have to walk past at least 50 shops.
Armenian crafts and art is a famous thing in Jerusalem and a lot of people love to buy those crafts.
Beside the things that you can buy like plates , vases you can also see the armenian art on buildings in jerusalem.
What to buy: Plates , Vases
What to pay: Depends on the thing you want to buy and of course the location
Mahne Yehuda market (in hebrew it is Shook Mahne yehuda) is a famous market in Jerusalem and one of the most in Israel.
This is a big open market with many stores (meat , fruits , vegetables , bakery and more).
The place is very colorful and is known as place for Beitar jerusalem's fan (and right winged people).
What to buy: You can find a lot of good things : fruits , vegetables , places to eat , spices , meat , toys and many many more.
What to buy: This is a bit bizarre experience. Instead of going to a shop, the shop comes to you. It looks like a regular Jewish clergyman, dressed in black with the traditional cap on top of his head. He would approach you with a greeting and a question about your place of origin (this must be an international tout trick). In my case this time it worked because he was quite knowledgeable of the soccer stars of BG so I was open for negotiation. What he wanted to sell to me was some sort of a good charm, represented by a red thread which is supposed to be worn as a bracelet. This reminded me of the BG martenitza minus the white thread so I was in for the bargain.
What to pay: Price of the bracelet was negligible but the value of his advice not leave my head uncovered was priceless.
Now here’s an interesting souvenir to take back after a visit to Israel: a custom-made leather belt. It’s not that expensive, it doesn’t take up room in your suitcase, and it doesn’t sit around gathering dust when you get home, like the olive-wood camels and sardine tins of Holy Land Air that are so popular with tourists.
On King George Street in downtown Jerusalem is a little shop where they make leather belts for you as you wait. You can’t miss it. Outside, like a cigar store Indian, stands the statue of a man decked out in belts, and the store itself has a big English sign that says “Belt In.” Now that I think about it, it’s probably a play on words for “built in”!
A belt for keeping your jeans up will set you back about 90 shekels (about $20) depending on the width of the belt and the kind of buckle you choose. A row of stitching costs another 5 shekels.
I’m sure there are other belt shops in the world, but you won’t see one like this, which advertises itself with a quote from the Bible. A wooden plaque on the storefront reads: “And they sewed together fig leaves and made themselves belts” (Genesis 3:7).
The word in the Bible for the article of clothing devised by Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness is “hagorot.” Traditional translations of the Bible use the word “girdles” or “loincloths,” but in modern Hebrew, “hagorot” are belts!
What to buy:
Whether or not you consider yourself to be a good photographer, there is a small photography shop in the Christian Quarter where you'll find the most beautiful, evocative photos of the Old Walled City and surrounding area...some dating back to the early 1930's.
The shop is run by Kevork Kahvedjian (I believe he's Armenian) and he's the photographer in question. Besides being able to purchase individual prints, Mr. Kahvedjian has several books with his exceptional prints - you can peruse his books and get a real historical perspective on this magical city.
Some shots that stand out in my mind are of some bedouin women, street scenes inside Jerusalem, and one that I bought on one of my previous trips, "Damascus Gate" which shows two children on donkeys entering the Old City through the Gate of Damascus. One of the children is looking back at the photographer and somehow that moment is stunning.
I think this is a TERRIFIC place to make a few memorable purchases that aren't hokey, tacky souvernirs that collect dust after a year or two; in fact, I have two prints hanging in my home and people always comment on them.
What to buy:
If you go to Jordan, I think the Narghila pipes are nicer there. However, chances are your trip to Israel will keep you busy in Israel.
That being the case, do have some fun haggling with the vendors in the Christian and Muslim Quarters where the majority of the narghila pipes are sold. They all kind of look alike but if you're lucky you may find that special one that touches your heart....David did. He ended up paying something like $30 for a LARGE size pipe which I consider to be a pretty good deal.
It pays (literally) to hit the shops around the end of the day, when the vendors are eager to make a sale and usually won't let one slip through their hands even if it means lowering their prices beyond what they thought they'd have to do in order to get the business.
And because most tourists go for the pipes, they really jack up the prices. Rest assured that you can find a large one for a good price because if the one vendor isn't willing to play, he knows the guy a few stalls down, will.
What to pay: Anywhere from $15 for a small sized pipe to $50 for a really large pipe
These three stores are just a sampling of the emporium to consumerism. You can buy anything from children's clothes, stationery supplies, toys and crafts, Israeli trendy clothes and electronics.
Habakook's size is not so impressive, but it manages to pack a cornucopia of anything you want.
Galpaz, on Malchey Israel, is a Tower Records- type of store for Jewish music.
Bazaar Shtraus is further down, towards downtown Jerusalem, on Shtraus St, almost on Hanneviim, is full of kid's clothes.
What to buy: Electronics, light appliances, Religious music, stationery supplies, souvenirs, consumer paradise.
What to pay: $10 per bag
George has been running his little shop in the middle of the Christian Quarter for several years, and in my opinion, he has the best selection of delicate Hebron, mouth-blown glass and Jerusalem hand-painted crystal in all of the walled city.
What to buy: The glassware is absolutely gorgeous. George carries everything from champagne and wine glasses to regular drinking glasses and tea sets. The details are beautiful, the items are obviously hand made, and the prices are terrific.
Whenever you go to these little shops inside the Old Walled City, you can get the feeling of being hustled. You're sure to get more than your money's worth at George's store.
George also sells coins and stamps, for the serious collector.
I got all my Hebron glassware here...I gave some as gifts and kept a set for myself. It's some of the best purchases I've made in Israel.
What to pay: I can't remember what I paid, but I know it was under what I probably would have paid elsewhere and George made sure I was happy with what I bought. He's a reliable shopowner and a knowledgeable buyer. You can definitely have some fun bargaining with him!
This shop is located not too far from the Jaffa Gate of the Old Walled City of Jerusalem. They ship their items to wherever you live, if you can't take it with you. There's usually one of the artists (it's a family business) in the gallery at any given time, painting. It's a small shop with a rich diversity of interesting artisanry and gift items.
What to buy: Their specialty is in ceramics - I brought back some beautiful, creative pieces and have them hanging on the wall at home. I also bought a small wood table with a ceramic tiled top...together, the tiles form the old city of Jerusalem. It's beautiful and I ALWAYS receive compliments for it from visitors.
What to pay: The prices are reasonable here. Don't expect to negotiate the prices too much. These are artistic pieces and the owner takes a lot of pride in his business - it shows.
For example a Belen made in olive tree for Catholic people, mum love it ;-)
first price is never the real one!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ask less than the half they tell you to began the argument... look always as if you do not think you are doing a great deal ....
I wish my mother taught me more in this ;-) I am not a good one lol
Shopping for Spices can be a good idea here, in the Arab or Jewish market there have them all in large quantity and much cheaper then what you pat for them later in mainland Europe.
The vicinity of Yaffo street is full with little shops where local craftmen sell their artifacts. Like the little glass store here.
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