Only in the Old City

Only in the Old City

autor iconBy Loren Minsky

A Local's Insight: Secret Treasures of the Old City

Entering the Old City is like walking into another world. Just a small distance from Jerusalem's relatively new, modern city is an area replete with historical significance, rendering awe at every turn through the four quarters – Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian. The Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Arab Shuk, and Armenian churches, each step holds a potential treasure to be discovered.

But perhaps you're looking for something a little different than the well-trafficked historical sites and shopping spots. There are plenty of unreported nooks which aren't on the normal Jerusalem tours path. Here we offer you a strong list of off-the-beaten-path Old City intrigues, peeking all of your senses as you'll see, hear, touch, smell, and taste areas and venues less known to visitors.

• A 700-year-old Tehini milling plant. The sesame seeds - selected from Nigeria, Chad and Ethiopia - are ground here, and often associated with cures for various diseases and ailments. Located in the Muslim Quarter.

• A Kurdish cloth merchant, offering fine fabrics from different areas in Syria, India, and Morocco – a veritable live "Arabian Nights". Interestingly, the fabrics are provided to the gamut of religious organizations in Jerusalem, namely the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, as well as Muslim and Christian communities.

• Armenian ceramics. These rich-colored Mediterranean ceramics, often based with deep blues and greens, are a cornerstone of Armenian artistry. You can sample a host of studios and galleries in the Armenian quarter.

• Jerusalem hummus has made a name for itself the world over, and the Lina Restaurant, a "Humuseria", stands out in particular.

• Natural fruit shake lovers can delight in a tamarind (Indian date), almond and carob thirst-quencher, a favorite for any pilgrim.

• A D&D club, active late night until early morning, offers Napa hookahs with local bands often playing ethnic music.

• Pubs and internet cafes on the upper area of the Christian Quarter rival Rome, Paris, London and New York.

• Armenian Restaurants and Live Music: On the street where the Armenian Patriarch is located, you'll find a good stretch of restaurants with the distinct (read: highly-spiced) Armenian cuisine along with expert Armenian musical renditions.

Contributed by Oded Amitai, Jerusalem Tour Guide

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