Jaffa is the ancient port out of which modern day Tel Aviv has grown. The Jaffa Flea Market, or, in Hebrew Shuk Hapishpishim is one of the highlights of the area with vendors selling products of any variety imaginable lining the sidewalks. Weaving your way through an array of treasure, junk, and daily basics, you’ll see everything from Judaica, Persian tiles, jewelery, old jeans, and Indian mildewed clothes. Its an incredible cultural experience, where bargaining and haggling rule the day… fun in itself.
The flea market itself is open Sunday to Thursday 10am to 6pm and Friday 10am to 2pm, although the area itself offers much to be taken in and seen. With a bit of local knowledge, a visit to Jaffa Flea Market offers even more than the unique cultural experience you can receive on the surface. Thanks to Samy D., an ex-Jaffa local, we are able to present below some of the sites, sounds, and people that make this place even more unique. What’s below is more than just a tourist guide, it is a glimpse into the life and world of a local, picking on a few features of life here which make this place special and unique:
Margoza. At any given period of time, I have my preferred local café where I stop on my way to the studio for coffee and croissant or a sandwich. It changes each time my way from home to the studio changes. While I was walking from home in Jaffa to the studio in Abulafia Street (the current location), each morning, may it be cold outside or deadly hot, I had my coffee in the small and lovely Margoza bakery (24 Margoza Street). The place is opened by the husband and wife team of Michal and Tzafrir Dahan.
One of the best things to have there is a small wonder named chouquettes We are talking about a small, thin crusted cream puff, garnished with sugar crystals and filled with fresh air from the Alps (not really). 20 chouquettes in a Cellophane bag tied with a ribbon and the world looks much better. Beyond that the different breads are great, the baguettes are authentic and the dried fruit cake is exceptional, a weekend without it is not quite a weekend.
Lauri Recanati’s Studio. Almost a year ago I wrote about the mosaic artist and dear friend Lauri Recanati. Her studio in Rabi Hanina Street. is one of the more magical places in the neighborhood. What was a pickles factory (!) over 300 years ago became, under Lauri’s sophisticated and loving hand, the local branch of heaven. A charming studio with romantic yard, mosaic art works and giant bins full of colorful raw materials in any color and texture you can imagine. Visit by appointment.
12 Rabi Hanina Street Jaffa
Fresh baked bread from Charcuterie bar. Many know the Charcuterie restaurant, less know about the bar down the same street as the main restaurant, and even less know about the wonders of the bread they bake there. If you ask hard enough they will even sell you a loaf to go. Extra hard crust and soft and airy on the inside. There is only one problem with it; by the time you get back home half of it is gone.
3 Rabi Hanina Street Jaffa
Nirit Levav Packer Gallery. Nirit Levav Packer is an eco-artist working only with recycled materials. Her work can be found in this stunning gallery near the flea market, a renewed Ottoman building. Nirit’s work is centered around the themes of femininity, maternity and female figures, brought to life through materials that would normally been thrown away, such as bicycle chains, keys, light bulbs, mattresses frames, coils, gravel.
9 Beit Eshel Street, Jaffa
This article is part of a series of articles by Samy D. about the Jaffa the tourist doesn’t see but which some lucky people get to experience on a daily basis. You can find the original post here or see the amazing ceramics work done by Samy D. in the neighborhood of Neve Tzedek.