Jerusalem Markets
January 22,2018
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The most prominent markets in the Old City of Jerusalem

The Jerusalem markets are one of the highlights of the holy city. They sit adjacent to the Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount), hugging the walls to essentially become part of it. Characterized by lit domes and exquisite scenery, one is transported to the markets’ glorious days through the Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk, and Ottoman eras.

Jerusalem’s stores line the narrow streets with their vaulted ceilings and bay windows. The shops on each long stretch sell the same goods, identifying themselves in such manner.

These shops predate the Israeli occupation of 1948, being built during the reign of the Umayyads and modernized in the Abbasid era. The Mamluks added their flavors, and the Ottomans’ architectural influences are clear as well. The Old City’s markets underwent a change after 1967, when many were demolished, and rebuilt in their place was the Jewish Quarter, which now occupies 116 of the Old City’s 871 dunums.  Jerusalem’s shops, or what remains of them, are still part of the city’s distinctive fabric.


Al-Attareen Market:

This is a roofed market located between al-Lahameen market and al-Tujjar market.  Its ceiling consists of numerous windows to allow the sun’s rays to penetrate through.  The market stretches 300 meters with a width of 2.5 meters, and it houses 106 varied shops, including five shops specializing in perfumes, incense, and aromatic scents, creating a sense of magic and beauty.


Al-Lahameen Market:

Al-Lahameen starts from al-Bazaar in the east and stretches to al-Nahaseen in the north.  It is an old, covered market, with windows in the roof for ventilation and lighting. Its name comes from the presence of numerous shops selling fresh meat and fish, as the city’s residents flock here to buy their meats. It lies parallel to al-Atareen and has an entrance to it. It consists of 79 shops, mostly smaller in size.


Al-Nahaseen Market:

This market is north of al-Lahameen and south of Bab Khan al-Zeit street.


Bab al-Qataneen Market:

One of Jerusalem’s oldest markets, it has a length of 100 meters and width of 10 meters.  It is lined with shops from its creation in 737 AH/1336 AD, when its owners were selling all kinds of fabrics and goods that were carried by trade caravans from India to Jerusalem through Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul.  The importance of this market has diminished upon the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope in 1497 AD, and was then neglected in the late Ottoman period. The market was set up by the Mamluk prince Ankaz al-Nasiri near al-Qataneen.  Its shops number in the sixties, and it was renovated by the Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad bin Qalawuun in 727 AH.

In the Mamluk era, al-Qataneen market was one of the city's busiest and most advanced markets, as cotton and silk from India were widely sold.

Al-Qataneen lies west of Al-Aqsa Mosque and adjacent to it, running from east to west as a street connected to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  In the middle of the market lies a male-only bath known as "al-Shifa bath,” and at its west end “al-Ain bath,” on its west side a connecting street to the Islamic School for Orphans, from there to the Qurma neighborhood, then to Bab Khan al-Zeit.

The market is constantly exposed to the arrogance of the occupation and its imposition of high taxes on traders, forcing most of them to close their shops and instead carry their wares on carts to sell them.


Al-Husr Market:

This is an old and small market located at the eastern end of al-Bazaar and to the south of al-Lahameen. It garnered its name from its large number of vendors selling traditional weaved rugs (“husr”) and carpets, where it was hotbed of these items.

This market is a currently semi-deserted after the occupation of the city and its confiscation by the Jewish Quarter.  Only four shops remain.


Al-Bazaar Market:

This market stretches from the west of the Aloun market to the east of the al-Husr and al-Lahameen markets. It is distinguished by its beautifully-paved streets. This market was endowed first by the Afdaliya and Kareemiyeh schools, later endowed by the Husseini and Jarallah families. It currently specializes in the sale of tourist goods, and it is one of the most beautiful Jerusalem markets, consisting of 69 shops shops selling souvenirs of Palestinian heritage, as well as religious items, catering to Muslims, Christians and Jews.


Bab al-Silsila Market:

Named for its proximity to Bab al-Silsila, one of the entrances to the Noble Sanctuary, the market is an extension of this entrance.  In it one will find some ancient Islamic locales like the al-Khalidiya library, graves of the righteous, and the Islamic conference.

To the south, this market is peppered with stairways leading to the Wailing Wall, which lies to the west of Al Aqsa Mosque.  The market is located at the far end of the al-Tujjar market and also connects to al-Dalaleen market.

The market contains 96 distinct boutiques selling traditional artifacts, like copper, leather and rugs.


Harit al-Sharaf Market:

This market was modernized in the second half of the nineteenth century, and it is situated opposite al-Tujjar market, separated from it by just a few stores. The market covers a long stretch, and it was mostly populated by Jews until the Palestinian revolution of 1936, after which their presence. After 1967, Jewish residents returned and occupied the whole Old City, including the market space. They then demolished and removed some buildings, markets, schools, dominating the space and exploiting it for their own uses.


Bab al-Jedeed (New Gate) Market:

This is a small market is located between Bab al-Jedeed (new gate), which was opened in the time of Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II in the north of the city, and Casanova Hotel.  To the right of Bal al-Jedeed lies the Qaimari mosque, and opposite lies the Monastery of Saint Saviour. It is located on the path to Frere’s School, and its end one finds the Pontifical Mission Library.

Through the path of the Frere’s School, one will find 13 shops, both open and closed, including souvenirs shops, ceramics, grocery, barbers, and restaurants.


Al-Jedeed market (Omar’s Square Market):

This market is located at the Jaffa Gate, seventy arm-lengths east of the castle. Named for the Jaffa Gate, through which it is believed the Caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab entered upon the conquest of Jerusalem.  It stretches from the Jaffa Gate entrance towards the Aloun market, and it became known as “the New Market.” Omar’s square contains a three-way intersection, leading to 1) the headquarters of the Latin Patriarchate, 2) the Imperial Hotel, and 3) the Roman Catholic Patriarchate. Jews and tourists from Israeli tourism offices use this entrance as the main entrance to the city.

The number of shops in the Omar Square market comes to 43 stores, mostly specialize in selling tourist goods, as well as many restaurants, libraries, hotels, and currency exchanges.


Al-Tujjar Market:

Also called the al-Sayyagh market or the al-Khawajat market, it is located south of the al-Bashoura market and east of the al-Atareen market. This old market is roofed with small windows for sun and air. 55 shops populate this market.


Al-Kabeera Market:

This is also called the Produce market, and it starts at the intersection of the Jewish market and the al-Tujjar market.  It extends eastward to Bab al-Silsila, with windows throughout the ceiling.  In its north central section, one finds Khan al-Sultan, containing mills and juicing stands.


Al- Bashoura Market:

Located south of the al-Atareen market, and named after a word that means “castle,” this market was used widely by Mamluk rulers and dates back to the Roman era.  Excavations have revealed beautiful, elegant marble pillars from Roman times. The Israeli occupation renewed many of the ancient spaces (discovered from the excavation), renting them only to Israeli Jews.

This market became famous after the catastrophe of 1948, through the sale of second-hand clothes, and the buying and trading of old clothes.  Today, its 21 stores mostly sell porcelain and tourist items.


Aloun market:

Extending east to west from the Jerusalem Castle – which is also called “David Castle” – and Fasayil Tower – which renamed “David Tower” in the Byzantine period – to the intersection of al-Bazaar street and the Christian Quarter near Omar’s square, this small market was named after Aloun family of Jerusalem.

A booming market for foreign tourists, as it is located in the Christian neighborhood near the Jaffa Gate, its roads lead to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Al Aqsa Mosque, and the Western Wall.

This market is distinguished by its 38 beautiful shops selling antiques and ancient relics that show the Arab identity of the holy city.


Bab Hutta Market:

Located in the Bab Hutta neighborhood north of the Noble Sanctuary, this small market has a number of shops on both sides of a narrow road amidst the neighborhood’s small houses. It was once an active market, but now, as is also the case in all parts of the old city, there is much less movement and activity.


Khan al-Zeit Market:

Starting from the south side of the intersection of Al-Qataneen and the market connected to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which lies only 300 arm-lengths to its west, this market’s northern end terminates where the Bab al-Amoud market meets the Via Dolorosa.  Most of this market is covered, with windows for ventilation and lighting. It received its name from an ancient storage space named “Khan al-Zeit,” which was known for oil pressing in the 20th century, each oil press containing specialized spaces for olive oil. Located in the heart of the city, Khan al-Zeit is also named is also named Cardo Street. In the middle of the market one finds the sixth stage of the Via Dolorosa near the Abyssinian Church, as well as a chapel for Abu Bakr (a companion of the Prophet Muhammad). Village women dominate this market, selling vegetables and fruits.

Khan al-Zeit extends from Bab al-Amoud market to the beginning of al-Atareen marlet, and it populates the upper part of Cardo Street, which dates back to the Roman and Byzantine eras. Part of the Khan al-Zeit market is the al-Wad market, which continues into the Moroccan neighborhood in the Old City.

188 shops exist in the market, 91 down the right side, and 97 down the left.


Bab al-Amoud Market (Damascus Gate market)

This market is located between Khan al-Zeit to the south and the Damascus Gate to the north. Between the two markets, one finds alleyways, leading westward to al-Khanqah al-Salahiyya Mosque and the Christian Quarter, and eastward to the Bab al-Wad neighborhood. Sections of this market contain vaults, like others in Jerusalem.

This market contains 47 shops, beginning directly at the entrance to the Damascus Gate.  The shops occupy spaces that used to be reserved for guards, and the stores head right to the main intersection of the Khan al-Zeit market, which also serves as the main path to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as the paths leading to the Noble Sanctuary.


Aftimos Market:

In 1837, the Patriarch Athanasius bought this land of this market from the Al-Alami family, and market is now part of the land of the Orthodox Patriarchate. It is named after the Archimandrite Aftimos market, who built the market. It is located west of the Dabagha Church and near Prince Frederick William Street.

It is considered one of the city’s most beautiful markets, with its 97 shops selling famous tourist artifacts, textiles, leather, and antiques.


Christian Quarter Market:

Located between al-Aloun market to the south and al-Khanqah al-Salahiyya Mosque to the north, this is a long, large, covered market with beautifully adorned pavement.

With its location in the heart of the Christian Quarter where one finds numerous monasteries and churches, as well as the Mosque of Omar which sits upon the site he prayed upon when he visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, this market features shops selling church incense, holy candles, rosaries, crosses, and many tourist goods.


Al-Khawajat Market:

Located to the left of al-Atareen market, this market is famous for selling old, traditional clothing such as the “qumbaz” and “abaya,” as well as for selling gold. Currently, the shops selling fabric are limited, as one shop owner, Waheed al-Imam said, “The profession of selling fabrics, for which Jerusalem is famous, is on its way to extinction, as people no longer cut and sew their own clothes.” In line with al-Imam’s words, the reasons to pay for fabric and sewing (like upholstered chairs) have disappeared as ready-made final products are imported.


Armenian Quarter Market:

The Armenian Quarter market is small compared to others, with only 12 shops, including two restaurants and one grocery store, the rest being for the sale of porcelain goods and tourist items.


Herod's Gate Market (Bab al-Saahira):

This is a small market with grocery, meat and vegetable shops, as well as one restaurant, one coffee shop, and a few other stores. This market contains 30 stores.


Al-Mujahideen path Market

This path goes from Lions Gate in the east to the Via Dolorosa and al-Wad Street to the west. On al-Mujahideen path lie a number of specialty shops selling religious artifacts and tourist items, as well as some restaurants and beverage shops.


Al-Wad Road Market

This is the main road from the Damascus Gate to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, beginning with the end of the Damascus Gate market near al-Shorbaji mosque, and ending at the Israeli checkpoint at the entrance to the Western Wall. Near its end, it is also connected to Bab al-Silsila market. It is a long market, parallel to Khan al-Zeit, and it connects to a number of aqueducts, including Toot aqueduct, Qanatir Khdeir, al-Mufti/Via Dolorosa aqueduct, al-Takkiya aqueduct, and al-Khalidiya aqueduct. It connects to the Noble Sanctuary in the east side of city through the original aqueduct and to Via Dolorosa near the Lion’s Gate. There exist also a number of Jewish religious schools, shops and houses occupied by settlers, as well as two Israeli police stations.


Via Dolorosa / Al-Mufti Aqueduct Market

This market gets it name from its location along the fifth an sixth stations of the Via Dolorosa, as well as being near the al-Mufti aqueduct, named after Haj Amin al-Husseini, the leader of the Palestinian national movement in the 1940s. The roads of this market connect al-Wad Street and the path to Khan al-Zeit market the al-Khanaqa aqueduct.

This market contains 37 shops, mostly selling religiously-based tourist items.


Khanaqa Aqueduct Market

This market lies at the foot of the stairways that are located between Khan al-Zeit market and the Christian Quarter, and it’s name is attributed to the aqueduct that connects to the Khanaqa al-Salahiyya, the oldest hostel in Palestine. This market begins near the eighth station of the Via Dolorosa, and it branches out to the right to the Abyssinian monastery, and to the left to al-Sayida street.

48 shops populate this market, including shops selling religious and folkloric items, restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores and some other specialty shops.


Al-Dabagha Market

Located between the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Monastery of St. Saviour, this market receives it name from the tanning artisans shops working in the field of leather in the late Ottoman period. One may access this market through the Damascus gate and Khan al-Zeit market, or through Jaffa Gate and the al-Aloun, Aftimos, and Muristan markets.

The market’s 15 shops all sell folkloric and tourist items.


Al-Muristan Salahi Market

This market garners it names from the “Muristan” building, a word of Persian origin consists of two words: “Muri” meaning “sick” and “Stan, meaning “place.” In other words, a hospital or clinic. Al-Muristan is located in the western end of the Holy City near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The market currently houses 8 stores, including shops selling tourist items and few restaurants.


Like everything else in Jerusalem, the markets did not escape the fierce Israeili attacks. In 1968, bulldozers destroyed al-Bashoura and al-Husr markets, and demolished parts of other markets, while threatening all the rest. After the destruction of al-Bashoura and al-Husr, Israeilis returned to open “Cardo” market, readying it for tourists, driving business away from Arab-owned shops. Israeili tour guides played a major role in this undertaking.

When the occupation failed to destroy all the market, it resorted to other means, including imposing heavy, unjust taxes on business owners and properties, forcing many to close shop. As each closed store may become subject to seizure by Israeili settlement groups, the occupation achieves its Jerusalem-based activities. As a result of these heinous, criminal practices, a number of traders closed their shops, including 25 in the Christian Quarter market, 75 in the al-Dabagha market.  Further, the occupation forces confiscated many more shops for fabricated reasons.

Among the Israeli plans to eliminate the Jerusalem markets is a plan now implemented by the mayor of the Israelis in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Municipality).  The municipality is tasked to clean the floors of Jerusalem markets daily, but it deliberately neglects the Arab markets.  This results in the accumulation of garbage throughout the markets, creating unsanitary conditions and strong, putrid smells, especially from the many shops selling vegetables, meat, and fish. In a city where the aromas of incense and perfume dominated, Israeli initiatives have encouraged tourists to avoid Arab shops, where goods pile up without sale, leading to shop owners leaving and locking up their shops.  Ultimately, their properties become subject to seizure.


These recent changes in the historic markets are quite clear, and they have greatly affected shop owners and residents, as well as the city in general. The economic difficulties faced by the merchants led many of them to change the nature of their shops and the goods they sell, in hopes of generating more income, resulting in fundamental changes to the nature of the Old City. Therefore, the Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jerusalem, through financing projects and initiatives, seeks to restore and preserve the city’s economic heritage.


“Jerusalem – The Old City (Shops and Markets)”, by Dr. Omar Ibrahim Badriyya
“The Markets of Jerusalem – The most prominent shops of the Holy City”, by Dr. Hanna Issa


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