Shopping in Jerusalem

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Jerusalem Shopping

Jerusalem offers distinctive ideas for gifts—for yourself or others—from jewelry and art to traditional crafts, items of a religious nature, and souvenirs. The several shopping areas make it easy to plan expeditions. Prices are generally fixed in the center city and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, though you can sometimes negotiate for significant discounts on expensive art and jewelry. Shopping in the Old City's colorful Arab bazaar, or souk (pronounced "shook" in Israel—rhymes with "book"), is fascinating but can be a trap for the unwary.

Young fashion designers, often graduates of Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, have opened a stream of shops and boutiques. They’re scattered throughout the city. Several galleries representing Israeli artists are close to the hotels on King David Street.

Jewelry in Israel is of a high international standard. You can choose between conservative styles; sleek, modern pieces inspired by different ethnicities; and the increasingly popular bead jewelry of Michal Negrin and other current Israeli stars of both the local and international scene.

Stores generally open by 8:30 am or 9 am, and some close between 1 pm and 4 pm. A few still close on Tuesday afternoon, a traditional but less and less observed half day. Jewish-owned stores (that is, all of West Jerusalem—the "New City"—and the Old City's Jewish Quarter) close on Friday afternoon by 2 pm or 3 pm, depending on the season and the kind of store (food and souvenir shops tend to stay open later), and reopen on Sunday morning. Some stores geared to the tourist trade, particularly Downtown, reopen on Saturday night after the Jewish Sabbath ends, especially in summer. Arab-owned stores in the Old City and East Jerusalem are busiest on Saturday and quietest on Sunday, when many (but not all) Christian storekeepers close for the day.

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