Mahane Yehuda

Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem

“Mahane Yehuda” literally means “Yehuda’s camp,” but it is actually famous nation-wide for being an awesome outdoor market in Jerusalem in the heart of the city. Its clientele is as varied as its products, which range from veggies to vacuum cleaners. It is colorful and crowded and a “must see” stop for tourists who want to get a taste for daily living in Israel. The “Shuk” is located between Jaffa and Agripas Streets and is divided by streets named after fruits. It hosts over 250 vendors and fine restaurants and some of the area is covered. Some local tidbits for the sweet-tooth worth trying are the marzipan and chocolate “rogalach.” Drink fresh-squeezed juices at the stands that appear at many corners. And, of course, the falafel and shwarma are as authentic as you’ll ever taste.

The neighborhood was established by three business partners in 1887: Johannes Frutiger, a German Protestant banker, and Jerusalem businessmen Joseph Navon and Shalom Konstrum. Approximately 160 houses were built connecting it to the Beit Ya’akov neighborhood that had been built in 1885. The marketplace itself, situated on an empty lot owned by the Sephardic Valero family, known then as “Shuk Beit Ya’akov,” appeared on the scene at the end of the century and served as a link between the two neighborhoods. The market was later renamed for Joseph Navon’s brother Yehuda. Arab merchants and peasants always sold goods to the Jewish residents outside the walls of the Old City, but as the new city grew, so did Mahane Yehuda. In 1931 the Iraqi market was added to the western end of Mahane Yehuda by merchants of Iraqi Jewish descent, hence the name. In 2000, a major renovation began to revitalize the infrastructure.

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