The Mahane Yehuda ‘suk’ in Jerusalem has been changing with the times for over a hundred years and shows no sign of slowing down.
When people in Jerusalem say they’re going to the suk, they can only mean that they’re on their way to the Mahane Yehuda open-air market.
Harvey Stein wended his way through Jerusalem’s 100-year-old colorful and intoxicating market for ISRAEL21c and found one-of-a-kind boutiques proffering clothes and accessories alongside juice bars, pungent spices, candy and halva, exotic cheeses, fish, meat, poultry and Judaica.
There’s also the ‘etrog man’, selling juice as well as creams, sprays, lotions and potions made from the sweet-scented etrog, or citron.
At the end of the 19th century the first merchants sold their wares in the area on an empty lot and in the 1920s, the British cleaned up the market, building the first permanent stalls and roofing.
The neighborhood around the market is filled with history, and still contains many old buildings and pilgrimage sites.
Jerusalem’s Light Rail train, scheduled to begin operation in spring 2011, will stop right outside the Jaffa Street entrance to the market.
In addition to the clothing, artists cooperatives and trendy café chains have joined the traditional fresh fruits and vegetables so that today, the shopping experience in Jerusalem’s suk has evolved into a leisure outing.