Ethiopia Street

One of the most beautiful streets in all of Jerusalem is Ethiopia Street. It is located just off the Prophets Street, and abuts both the downtown triangle of West Jerusalem on its south, Mea She’arim on it’s north, and the Old City on the south-east.

Connecting Ethiopia Street to the Prophets Street made it into an important street; however, during the Ottoman times, it was just a foot path. When the British came to Jerusalem in 1917, the Prophets Street was paved and along with it its tributaries. Originally named Abyssinian Street by the British, the name was later changed to Ethiopia Street.

Building on the street started in the 19th century, when Ethiopia was under the reign of Emperor Melenik II (1844 – 1913) who reigned Ethiopia from 1889-1909. Along with his Empress Consort, Taytu Betul (c. 1851-1919), Melenik II built over a dozen beautiful buildings in Jerusalem. This entire area was call the Habash Neighborhood (named after the Al-Habash on the Horn of Africa).

Menelik II

Menelik II

Tayto Betul

Tayto Betul

Ethiopia is one of the most ancient of Christian communities in the world. Some say that it dates back as far as Philip the Evangelist and the 1st century. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has deep ties to Jerusalem. Ethiopian monks came to the Holy Land in the 5th Century and were originally located in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and later on in the new city (more about that in a future post).

The church on Ethiopian street was initiated in 1882 after receiving Ottoman permission and built in 1884 by the Emperor Johannes and is called Kidane Miharat (Covenant of Mercy) in a beautiful area called Dibra Ganet (Mount of Heaven);  it was finally opened in 1893.

1/500 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 100 mm

1/500 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 100 mm

The blessing on the gate says: “This church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was opened by His Majesty, King of Kings of Ethiopia Johannes in the year of St. Mark, 1874.” Since the date is from the Ethiopian calendar, it is actually 1882 by the Gregorian calendar.

The church has a black dome with an Ethiopian cross on the top and is round. There are two entrances: one for men and one for women.

1/1600 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 16 mm

1/1600 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 16 mm

I really love the inside, the light is fantastic. In these shots you can see the round structure and drums which are used in ceremonies.

1/1000 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 21 mm

1/1000 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 21 mm

1/125 sec at f/4.0, ISO 500, 16 mm

1/125 sec at f/4.0, ISO 500, 16 mm

1/60 sec at f/4.0, ISO 320, 35 mm

1/60 sec at f/4.0, ISO 320, 35 mm

1/125 sec at f/4.0, ISO 500, 16 mm

1/125 sec at f/4.0, ISO 500, 16 mm

I was really lucky to catch this shot of a monk studying. The entire place was very peaceful

1/40 sec at f/4.0, ISO 2500, 30mm

1/40 sec at f/4.0, ISO 2500, 30mm

.Next to the compound, at number 8, is the former Ethiopian consulate. I loved the royal symbol at the top of the building.

1/1000 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100, 16mm

1/1000 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100, 16mm

1/2000 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 200 mm

1/2000 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 200 mm

In the church compound, I found another royal symbol.

1/2000 set at f/8.0, ISO 100, 200 mm

1/2000 set at f/8.0, ISO 100, 200 mm

There are other beautiful buildings on the street, but they are all difficult to see as they are behind fences. There are so many beautiful buildings and lovely alley ways.

1/320 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 35 mm

1/320 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 35 mm

1/80 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100, 16 mm

1/80 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100, 16 mm

1/60 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 16 mm

1/60 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 16 mm

1/60 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 17 mm

1/60 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 17 mm

One of the interesting ones is the house where Eliezer Ben Yehuda lived and died (number 11). Ben Yehuda brought the Hebrew language back to life in the early part of the 20th century. He died of tuberculosis in this house.

1/125 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 16mm

1/125 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 16mm

I specifically liked the balcony!

1/100 set at f/8.0, ISO 100, 35 mm

1/100 set at f/8.0, ISO 100, 35 mm

The Shuk – Machane Yehuda

As promised, a bit more about the Machne Yehuda.

The open air vegetable market (Shuk Machne Yehuda or שוק מחנה יהודה) began to develop during the Ottoman period, at the end of the 19th century as peasants from the nearby villages of Lifta, Deir Yassin, or Sheich Badr began to bring their wares to sell on Jaffa Street, next to the neighborhood of Machne Yehuda.

In this wide open area, the villagers would peddle their vegetables to passersby as well as to residents of the surrounding Jewish neighborhood of Nachlaot. The geographical location (about 700 meters from the Old City) was convenient for the residents of these outlying neighborhoods, and so the vegetable marked thrived.

1/160 sec at f/2.8

1/160 sec at f/2.8

The local Ottoman government took no notice of the growing market and never built any sort of stable infrastructure to house the market. This became apparent over the next century as the market suffered from easy access for trucks and vendors, easy drainage or sewage, and shelter from the hot sun. Over the course of several years, the market began to develop and the local vendors began to erect roofs and proper stalls. Within about a dozen years, tin roofs were added. I remember when I began to shop at the shuk those tin roofs were still there and you could always hear cats running around on them, and feel the rain dripping through them in the winter.

1/100 sec at f/2.8

1/100 sec at f/2.8

During the last dozen years, the shuk has changed drastically. It is now a favorite tourist stop, for both international and local tourists. In Israel, every city has a shuk, but Machne Yehuda is the jewel in the crown.

1/80 sec at f/3.5

1/80 sec at f/3.5

Today, you can find almost anything you want in the shuk. Vegetables, meat, fish, fruit, kitchen supplies. I love the colors and textures and always think that the shuk is so very visually pleasing.

One of the nice things about the shuk, especially for those of us who have been shopping there for a long time, is that we have our regular stops. In each stop, we have to chat a bit, discuss the week’s events, talk a bit about politics, and nibble a bit. It’s a great ritual!

1/50 sec at f/2.8

1/50 sec at f/2.8

1/640 sec at f/2.5

1/640 sec at f/2.5

1/250 sec at f/2.5

1/250 sec at f/2.5.

1/160 sec at f/3.5

1/160 sec at f/3.5

1/160 sec at f/3.5

1/160 sec at f/3.5

1/80 sec at f/3.5

1/80 sec at f/3.5

1/1250 sec at f/2.5

1/1250 sec at f/2.5

It’s always worth a visit. If you come to Jerusalem, make sure that you spend a good half-day in the market. Not only for the shopping, but also make certain that you have a nice break in one of the many nice cafes and restaurants!

1/30 sec at f/2.8

1/30 sec at f/2.8

People Watching at the Market (Mahne Yehuda)

The open air vegetable market in West Jerusalem is called Shuk Machane Yehuda (שוק מחנה יהודה) and is so named because it is located in the old neighborhood of Machne Yehuda (Yehuda’s Camp). This part of West Jerusalem is composed of many small neighborhoods, each one with the designation of “machane” (מחנה). This particular neighborhood was built by three business partners: Johannes Frutiger, Shalom Konstrum, and Joseph Navon. Navon named the neighborhood after his brother, Yehuda.

Today, the Shuk is a giant produce and meat market, but also has lots to offer the visitor in terms of boutiques, cafés, and restaurants. I shop there early every Friday morning. Aside from the beautiful colors and rich variety, my favorite part of shopping in the shuk is watching the wonderful variety of people. I’m going to devote a few different pages about the shuk, but for now, I only want to focus on the clientele.

1/320 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

1/320 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

 

People come from all over the city to do their shopping and there is always something to see.

1/500 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

1/500 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

I’ve been shopping at the shuk for almost 35 years, and have seen many changes. Of course, I have my regular haunts where I shop.

1/125 sec, f/7.1, 50mm

1/125 sec, f/7.1, 50mm

Shopping always involves a bit of a conversation and a discussion of politics.

1/400 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

1/400 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

The market is situated almost exactly in the city center and is easily accessible by all sorts of public transportation and on any day you can see a multitude of different ethnic and cultural groups.

1/250 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

1/250 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

I don’t often shoot at the shuk, as I’m too busy pushing my cart around and trying to avoid the big crowds. These days, the shuk has become a major tourist attraction for foreigners as well as Israelis. The shopkeepers are happy, but we (the regulars) lament the crowds.

1/200 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

1/200 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

1/200 sec, f/3.2, 50mm

1/200 sec, f/3.2, 50mm