Jerusalem Nocturnal Magic: Secret Nightlife in the Shuk (Market)
Mahane Yehuda Market is one of Jerusalem’s most iconic establishments. Located in a walking distance from Jerusalem’s Old City, the market was established in the late 19th century, days of the Ottoman Empire. Over the years, the Shuk constantly grew. Today it serves as one Jerusalem’s most popular establishments: thousands of locals visit there daily, buying fresh groceries, looking for clothes, and bargaining with the shop owners. Many locals that have free time come to the Shuk to hang out, drinking pitch-black coffee and playing Checkers for hours.
Shuk Mahane Yehuda is an amazing place to visit: the food is great, the people are interesting, and there’s always a bargain to find. But in recent years, something special started happening there… these days, the real magic of Mahane Yehuda happens after the shops are closed and the sun goes down.
The Student Body Speaks: When Local Students Looked for a Place to Hangout
Jerusalem is home to thousands of students who study in the Hebrew University and other establishments. In 2010 a group of local student did what students around the world do best – they looked for a place to drink. Since Mahane Yehuda is loved by many of them, in a sense, buying drinks and hanging in the empty market after it was closed was the most natural thing to do.
This is where things get really interesting…!
The concept of hanging out in the market after hours turned to be a great experience. Pretty soon, more and more people started hanging there as well, not only students. Then, the first pub of the Shuk opened. And then another. And another…! Each of these places was dedicated to a different community – students, tourists, mature community, etc. Food stands soon followed, from all over the world – local cuisine, Argentinian food, Asian, Yemenis.
The Boy who Painted the Shuk: Graffiti in Mahane Yehuda Market
Three years after the first groups of students started hanging in the market, another thing happened there. Solomon Souza, a young British graffiti artist who took part in the market scene, wanted to give the beloved market a touch of color. A friend that owns some stores there gave Souza permission to paint on the metal shutters, and he did: Souza sprayed accurate, colorful, breathtaking portraits of known figures, and soon enough other shop owners wanted him to paint of their shutters as well.
By now, Souza and his partners painted portraits on hundreds of shutters. Every night when the shutters close the Shuk is visited by figures known all over the world such as Albert Einstein, Bob Marley, Steven Spielberg, along with local Israeli heroes, such as David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir, poets, authors, and more.
Meet the Real Jerusalem: Night-Time Tour in Mahane Yehuda Market
Until a few years ago, once the sun set down, Shuk Mahane Yehuda was closed until the following morning. But in recent years, something magical happened there. The locals themselves started something, and it grew beyond anyone could imagine.
Jerusalem Faces created a special tour which explores night-time Mahane Yehuda Market. This tour is a visit to the heart of Jerusalem’s contemporary culture, allowing the visitor to meet the many faces of the city, and experience it like a local. For details click here.