Israel’s largest open air market is located in downtown Jerusalem. This is the Mahane Yehuda market which has become the core of the authentic Jerusalem experience and enjoys great popularity with tourists and locals alike. The market itself has hundreds of vendors offering everything from fruit and vegetables, stalls with huge selections of herbs and spices, meat, fish and varieties of cheese to suit all palates as well as house wares and clothes.
Visitors from all walks of life enjoy wandering around this exciting place with its enticing aromas, its exhilarating colors and picturesque characters and vendors. The market was originally established towards the end of the 19th century between the neighborhoods of Mahane Yehuda and Beit Ya’akov and at that time was known as the Shuk Beit Yaakov. The shuk expanded rapidly and rather chaotically during the time of Ottoman rule. In about 1928 due to very poor sanitary conditions the authorities of the British Mandate closed the market and began building permanent stalls and roofing that would enable the merchants to begin trading under better conditions. At this time the market became known by its present name. Early in this century extensive renovations were again undertaken, roads were repaved and some areas covered.
The modernized and improved market has resulted in the opening of various Coffee shops, high quality bakeries, fashion boutiques and photography and art galleries as well as modern gourmet restaurants.
The Mahane Yehuda Market has today become a symbol of life in Jerusalem. There have even been songs and literary pieces written describing its bustle and ambience. It is definitely a must do on the agenda for tourists.