Shopping in Jerusalem
The markets of the Old City, where religious paraphernalia, souvenirs and spices are displayed are one of the city’s biggest attractions. At the other end, Jerusalem is also home to the biggest mall in the country.
The main shopping areas are the Old City for religious items, souvenirs and handicrafts. The Old City's Jewish Quarter, the Cardo, has several exclusive shops selling clothing and art.
The busy bazaars that weave through the Old City are one of the highlights of a visit. Leading down from Jaffa Gate is David Street market along which souvenirs, art, crafts and religious artefacts are sold. The Muslim Quarter is home to active market streets that form an important part of daily life, where bakeries, hummus eateries and jewellery shops vie for space. Two streets, El Wad Street and Souk Khan El-Zeit, lead down from Damascus Gate.
The covered Mahane Yehuda Market is the city’s main fruit and vegetable market. Though it’s always bustling, Friday mornings are particularly busy as residents prepare for Shabbat. Nestled amidst the countless stalls are small rustic eateries, where Middle Eastern dishes and traditional home cooking have turned the market into one of the best spots to eat in the city. The market is open Saturday to Thursday 0800 to 1200 and 0700 to 1600 on Fridays.
The open-air Mamilla Mall is located just outside of the Old City walls near Jaffa Gate and has a wide range of high-end shops. Malha Mall, a large indoor mall near the Jerusalem Malha railway station is also a popular destination for shoppers.
Opening hours are generally Sunday to Thursday 0900-1900. Jewish-owned businesses close Friday afternoons and Saturday for Shabbat. Trading on Friday, the Muslim holy day, is also quite restrained. Christian-owned shops close on Sundays.
Tiny open-fronted shops sell souvenirs of olive wood, silverwork, mother-of-pearl, leather, hand-blown glass, pottery and religious artefacts. Arabic sweets and pastries are also plentiful and delicious.
Value Added Tax (VAT) of 17% is quoted in the price of all goods and services. Tourists buying goods at shops listed by the Ministry of Tourism may be entitled to claim the tax back, provided the purchase cost is US$100 or more. Shoppers must obtain a special invoice to be submitted at the airport.