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  • Writer's picturedanaevankaplan

Visiting the Jaffa Flea Market

I am staying in an Airbnb in Jaffa until tomorrow. I visited the Shuk HaPishpishim, the flea market. I found an old Israeli telephone like they had when I lived here 28 years ago!

A local guide describes the area: "As you weave your way through the winding streets, you’ll find an abundance of knickknacks and treasures." According to this source, vendors display their eclectic offerings of all sorts of wonderful antiquities.

Source: Tourist Israel website

This is one typical scene:

The guide encourages tourists to "embrace your inner-Israeli as you practice your bargaining skills, then carry your keepsakes to the nearest cafe to reward yourself with some local delicacies." There are definitely some nice cafes nearby. The baklava is excellent.

The Jaffa Flea Market ("Shuk Hapishpeshim" in Hebrew), one of the best-known sites in Jaffa, is the descendant of an old market that was moved to part of its present location after being dispossessed by the Ottoman government from the area around the clock tower in the late 19th century, to make way for its civil administration compound (“soraya”).   The market expanded in time, to copt the “Greek Market,” adjacent to it, and it has been operating as a flea market for more than 70 years. Located southeast of the prominent clock tower, the market features a colorful cross- section of humanity and a fascinating hodge-podge of new and second-hand merchandise of every type and description. Bargain-hunters will have a grand time and antiques and knick-knacks can sometimes be scooped up for a song.

The same souce adds: A number of summers ago, for the first time, the market stayed open one night a week - a happening highlighted by music, street theater and special illumination.  It proved so successful that flea market events every Thursday night have become a part of Jaffa’s calendar in July and August. In the wake of this festival and its success, a number of new pubs, restaurants and cafes have become a part of the market scene.   Some operate throughout the day; others open for business after the regular vendors have shuttered their stalls. The area is home nowadays to a growing number of commercial enterprises and chains too, and some of the side streets of the market compound have been closed to vehicular traffic and serve as new venues for pubs, restaurants, and more.   Plans by the municipality call for transforming additional side streets in the area - in the old “Greek Market” section - to accommodate similar F&B and lifestyle enterprises. If antiques are your thing, or you simply adore rummaging through markets, the Jaffa Flea Market is a cool place to while away any number of hours.

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