There is nothing stranger than a sleeping shuk, devoid of the bustling interactions of a typical market day.
But in the morning the cycle begins again; produce is delivered, carefully arranged and the first buyers start trickling in.
Very quickly the narrow corridors are flooded, while the merchants haggle for their attention with increasing intensity before the day winds down. Some have unusual tactics to keep their customers coming.
At lunch time, holding up a sign to Azura restaurant
Kingdon of Halva giving out free halva bites
The shuk changes with the season. Cherries, almonds, sour plums, pomegranates, fresh garlic, strawberries…. each have their own time to shine.
But some things stay the same:
- the ubiquitous tomato, everyday, every season
A rapport is developed between the regular buyer and merchant. Pleasantries are exchanged and at times politics or sports are argued about before the transaction is complete.
And nestled within between stalls of fruits and vegetables are spice stores, fish mongers, butchers, bakeries, shops selling ready-made food, and small home-style restaurants.
Mahaneh Yehuda has taken a modern feel with more European style cafes, but the cozy Middle Eastern restaurants have remained popular as ever and are often packed during lunch hour.
While some people go the shuk to buy food, others go there to experience life.
Nobody goes home unaffected.
Location: Between Jaffa Road and Agrippas Street