Jerusalem

Jerusalem offers distinctive gifts from modern jewelry to traditional crafts to religious icons. The top shopping spots are the Downtown area, the Old City, and the Mamilla outdoor mall. The Hutzot Hayotzer artists' collective just outside the Old City walls is another popular and particularly beautiful spot, where during the August Arts and Crafts Festival you can visit the studios of resident artists and enjoy open-air music performances at night.

Prices are generally fixed in the Center City and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, although you can sometimes negotiate for significant discounts on expensive art and jewelry. However, bargaining is common practice in the Old City's colorful Arab bazaar, or souk (pronounced "shook" in Hebrew—rhymes with "book"); it's 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.

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 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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