ISRAEL – The Carmel Market (the Shuk Hacarmel) is the largest market, or shuk, in Tel Aviv. A vibrant marketplace where traders sell everything from clothing to spices, and fruit to electronics, visiting the Carmel Market is a fascinating thing to do in Tel Aviv. The hustle and bustle, vibrant noise, colors and smells, as well as its reputation as the largest authentic Middle-Eastern style shuk in Tel Aviv, all combine to make the Carmel Market a favorite place for everyone from first time tourists visiting the city, to locals who come here to get the freshest fruit and vegetables, and some of the cheapest products in the city. The market can at first appear to be a little intimidating, with so many senses stimulated at once – the sounds of the traders, the smells and flavors of the fresh produce, and sights of so many interesting things at once. We offer a short food tour of the Carmel Market to provide an introduction and tasting opportunity, which some visitors find helpful when they come back to explore in more depth.
The Carmel Market first opened in 1920, some eleven years after the establishment of the city, making it an integral part of the history of Tel Aviv. Whilst much of the trade has now shifted into modern malls and onto the internet, the market is still immensely popular and its narrow street is busy whenever you visit, particularly before Shabbat on Thursdays and Fridays, as residents buy supplies for their family meals. Recent years have seen a growing number of boutique stalls and food places opening alongside the traditional traders, from boutique beers to arrays of halva, and small eateries who take advantage of the market’s produce.
The Carmel Market is relatively simple in layout and location. The ‘Shuk’ occupies one street which runs south from the junction of King George Street, Allenby, and Sheinkin Street to the Carmelit Bus depot in the south. The side streets off of the market also host some small traders, but the activity is not so spread out as in Jerusalem’s main market, the Machane Yehuda Market.
The top end of the Carmel Market is traditionally focused on fashion and electronics, whilst the lower part is mainly food and fresh produce stalls. Haggling is part of the deal at any Middle Eastern Market, however at the Carmel Market, as Tel Aviv has Westernised, it has become less common on smaller purchases, but still very much part of the experience when it comes to larger purchases!
The Carmel Market is open every day from Sunday to Friday from the early morning until around 7pm, with earlier closing on Friday, ahead of Shabbat. The end of the day can be an interesting time to visit, with traders offering sometimes crazy deals on produce. The entrance to the market is easy to find right in the center of the city. In Hebrew, the market is ‘Shuk HaCarmel’ so if you’re asking for directions, you might have better luck asking for that. Being in the center of town, a visit can be combined with a trip to Tel Aviv’s White City, Neve Tzedek, or just to Tel Aviv Beach!
Neve Tzedek may well be one of Tel Aviv’s oldest districts, but it’s still young at heart! Newe Tzedek or Neve Tsedek, as it is also known is another district of Tel Aviv which has become increasingly fashionable in recent years, as restoration works have taken place to restore it to its former glory. Built in 1887, Neve Tzedek was the first Jewish neighborhood outside of the old port city of Jaffa, built as a suburb. Its Oriental architectural style, combined with quaint, narrow streets with boutiques, make Neve Tzedek, which means Oasis of Justice, quite literally an oasis in the modern city.
Neve Tzedek was established in 1887, over 20 years before the City of Tel Aviv was created. Similarly, though, it was created by a group of families seeking a peaceful life outside of overcrowded Jaffa. Desiring a more simple life, the new residents constructed colorful, low buildings along narrow streets with then-modern luxuries such as private bathrooms and toilets.
By the start of the 1900’s Neve Tzedek, had become an oasis for many artists and writers including future Nobel prize laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon, and famous Hebrew artist Nahum Gutman.