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  • Writer's pictureMark Vogel

My Night Visit to Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market: A Kaleidoscope of Colors in Israel

Jerusalem, Israel


Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel
Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel

My visit to Machane Yehuda, or "The Shuk," in Jerusalem, Israel at night was a distinctly different experience from my daytime visits. During the day, it's a bustling marketplace, but as night falls, it transforms into a lively social scene, with bars, restaurants and artistic murals taking center stage.

 

Located in the heart of Jerusalem, Machane Yehuda has a rich history dating back to the Ottoman period. By day, it's all about the shopping - fresh produce, spices, baked goods. But at night, this dynamic changes drastically.



“Experiencing The Shuk in both daylight and after dark is essential to understanding its full character. While the day offers a traditional market experience, the night reveals a more modern, lively side of Jerusalem's culture.”

Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel
Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel

At night, many of the market stores close, and their shutters become canvases for beautiful murals. These artworks feature famous figures, turning the market into an open-air gallery. It's a visual treat, complementing the lively nightlife.


The market's daytime vendors give way to a variety of bars, restaurants, and music venues, attracting a diverse crowd of both locals and tourists. This nocturnal metamorphosis highlights Jerusalem's contemporary cultural scene, juxtaposed with the traditional daytime market. The night atmosphere at Machane Yehuda is a blend of Middle Eastern charm and modern urban nightlife, making it a must-visit for those seeking to experience the multifaceted personality of Jerusalem after dark.


Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel
Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel

The murals at Machane Yehuda are the work of British-born artist Solomon Souza. His project began around 2015, in collaboration with Berel Hahn, who envisioned turning the Shuk into a cultural hub even during its off hours, particularly on Saturdays when the market is traditionally closed.

 

Among the figures depicted in these murals are notable Jewish personalities and other influential individuals. Some of the personalities featured include:

 

- Hannah Szenes: A Jewish World War II hero, remembered for her bravery as a paratrooper.


- Abraham Joshua Heschel: An influential American rabbi and philosopher.


- Doña Gracia Nasi: A 16th-century Jewish businesswoman and philanthropist who used her wealth and influence to support Jewish refugees escaping the Inquisition.


- Mahatma Gandhi: The famous leader of the Indian independence movement.


- Rabbi Yosef Kaduri: A respected kabbalist.


- Maimonides: A medieval sage and physician, also known as Rambam.


- Rosa Ginossar: A pioneering Israeli lawyer and feminist who, in the early 20th century, broke barriers and actively advocated for women's rights and legal representation.


- Sheikh Farid al-Jabari: A notable figure from Hebron, known for his unique approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his efforts to promote peace and mutual understanding between Jews and Palestinians.


- Si Ali Sakkat: A former mayor of Tunis, played a significant and heroic role during the Holocaust, particularly in Tunisia.


- Stanley Goldfoot: A South African-born Israeli journalist, founder of "The Times of Israel" newspaper, and a member of the Lehi underground movement, known for his influential activism in advocating for the establishment and development of the State of Israel.


- Steven Spielberg: The renowned film director and producer.


- Yossi Banai: A celebrated Israeli performer.


- Ze'ev Jabotinsky: A prominent Zionist leader.

 

The murals not only add a splash of color to the marketplace but also serve as a medium to celebrate and remember these influential figures, making the Shuk a unique intersection of art, history, and culture. This artistic endeavor has been welcomed by both the market vendors and visitors, adding an inspiring and educational layer to the already rich experience of visiting Machane Yehuda. The project, initiated as a grassroots effort, has become a distinctive feature of the market, enhancing its appeal to tourists and locals alike who come to witness this unique blend of street art and cultural homage.


Experiencing The Shuk in both daylight and after dark is essential to understanding its full character. While the day offers a traditional market experience, the night reveals a more modern, lively side of Jerusalem's culture.

 


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