Sunday, June 04, 2006

Fun Shabbat (Saturday) in the Old City

The Jerusalem YMCA (tower) and the King David Hotel in 1936
Available from Elia Photo Service

I am convinced that the best way to see the Old City in Jerusalem (if you have lots of time to spend in Israel) is by picking out a few sights - finding them and then letting an afternoon of adventure unfold. If you try to push too much sightseeing in one day in the Old City, you'll be tired, hot, cranky, and basically won't have a good time. Since Y and I live in Jerusalem, just a 15 minute walk from the Old City, we're able to do this type of touring.

This past Shabbat, we headed out to the Old City with the plan to find two shops. One was G Kouz's Glass and Pottery Shop and the other was Elia Photo Service. I have started to collect "local" craft items and I am interested in learning more about things manufactured in Israel and Palestine. Jerusalem is full of craft shops but most of the feature Judaica and that's not my thing. I do like Bedouin rugs and embroidery work and Hebron glass which you can find in and around the Old City. I am not into the frosted, swirly Hebron glass. I prefer the blown pieces in shades of blue, green and brown. It looks like glassware that you could probably get at Pier One. Jerusalem's Pier One is the Old City.

We entered the Old City and Jaffa Gate and went down the Christian Quarter Road. We found the glass shop easily. We decided to continue on to Elia Photo Service and to come back to the glass shop. You'd pass right by Elia Photo Service if you weren't looking for it. It is a cute shop filled with wood and glass display cases and two chairs for visitors to sit and browse through images. The shop owner, Kevork Kahvedjian, is the second generation running this shop. Kevork's father took many pictures of Jerusalem through the years - from the 1930s onward and Kevork has reprinted many of them as wonderful souvenirs. He also sells a book of his father's photographs called Jerusalem Through My Father's Eyes. Yaacov and I had a lot of fun looking at the pictures of Jerusalem and Israel from not so long ago and comparing the past to the present. There has been so much change here in the last 50 years!

8x10 reprints go for 90nis and the book is around 230nis. Kevork gives a discount on quantity purchases and the pictures come with a cream/white mat ready for framing. We couldn't decide on which prints we wanted to get - he has over 1000. But we did buy the book and it's at home on our coffee table now. Be sure to check out the gallery at the website for Elia Photo Service. It's really something!

G Kouz Glass and Pottery shop is ok. They have decent prices for their items. We were just looking for basic glassware for a cheap price and that's what we found. If you're into that frosted, swirly Hebron glass this is a good place to look. One side of the shop is glass and the other side is devoted to pottery. I didn't check out the pottery because I only buy from The Armenian Ceramics across from the US Consulate in east Jerusalem.

After our shopping, we were ready for some food. We ate at Papa Andrea's. It's a roof-top restaurant near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The food there isn't wonderful - but the view is a knockout. There's always a breeze and it's not too crowded. There is a tarp that provides shade. You can get a "Jerusalem Plate" with different kinds of salads and falafel for 35nis. After lunch I got some yummy Arabic coffee at a stand on the way out of the Old City.

It was good to see so many tourists out in the Old City - many of them were from all over the world. However, a large number were Israelis out having fun on Shabbat. Parking can be problematic in the Old City on Shabbat - but can be found with a little work.


At 6/04/2006 10:41 PM, Anonymous Sharon said...

I can't believe I'm getting Jerusalem tips from someone who has only lived here a couple of years *grumbles*. And yet, these are very good tips. I think I might want to get a whole bunch of postcards from the Elia service, and hang them all together.

At 6/04/2006 11:05 PM, Blogger JR said...

I cant wait to visit. Oh I how I hope one day... This is very helpful.

At 6/04/2006 11:22 PM, Blogger RR said...

It's funny, I've lived here a lot longer than you have, but you're giving me great ideas about where to shop for tchochkes! Granted, I don't get to Jerusalem all that often, but I'll definitely keep these stores in mind. My mother and I love those kinds of old pics-I think I know where I'm taking her next time she's in town!

At 6/05/2006 10:04 AM, Anonymous Kari said...

Amazing photos from the Photo Gallery that you shared! Who would of known? You find some really SABABA things! Toda Raba!


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