Souvenir Shopping Part 2 (Self Guided), Jerusalem

It would be a pity to leave Jerusalem without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Jerusalem, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.
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Souvenir Shopping Part 2 Map

Guide Name: Souvenir Shopping Part 2
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: Daniel
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Baidun Antiquities
  • Jerusalem Pottery
  • Qaissi @ Arab bazaar
  • Sunbula
  • Set Gifts
1
Baidun Antiquities

1) Baidun Antiquities

What to buy here: Clay Oil Lamp.

Many stores in Jerusalem sell antiquities, but beware of fakes. Make sure to only purchase antiquities in a store that displays a certificate stating it is authorized by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

A clay oil lamp is a historically meaningful gift. These tear-drop-shaped vessels were filled with olive oil through a large hole in the top, and a wick was inserted in a smaller hole at the front of the nozzle. Some oil lamps have a handle at the back, others have several wick holes. Each region and historical period has distinctive shapes and patterns, such as the simple Herodian lamp; the Byzantine lamp decorated with a palm branch pattern; the Askelon lamp, a three-wick lamp decorated with little circles; and the Jerusalem lamp with a cross above the wick hole.

Oil lamps and other antiquities can be purchased in a number of stores in the Old City, for example Baidun Antiquities, 28 Via Dolorosa (http://www.baidun.com/). The store is open Saturday to Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Baidun family has been collecting and selling antiquities for three generations. The store has a unique collection of rare artifacts from all over the Middle East and from the many civilizations that have dwelt in this region. Numerous thank you letters from prominent world figures such as former US president Bill Clinton grace the store’s wall.

The priciest item is a Roman marble sculpture of Venus, the goddess of love for $35,000. But for less you can acquire a Roman glass perfume bottle, a Roman fibula or toga ring, a first century bronze arrowhead, or a century Bronze Roman sheep’s bell. An authentic oil lamp can be purchased for $150 to $200.

Another gift idea is a bronze Greek or Roman coin ($50 to $200) or an Imperial Roman silver coin ($200). A pendant with a coin, Roman glass, or silver design is about $100
2
Jerusalem Pottery

2) Jerusalem Pottery

In this shop you can buy different types of traditionally decorated plates and tiles. The shop was founded by the famous Karakashian family. They created unique decorative tiles for both the interior and the exterior of your home.

What to buy here: Armenian Pottery.

Armenian pottery is a distinctive kind of ceramics, with traditional glazes from metallic oxides and graceful, hand-painted designs. The colors are bright yet earthy, the dominant color being cobalt blue. The peacock, symbolizing long life, is a popular design.

This type of ceramics was developed by Armenian artists living in Turkey in the 18th century. In 1919 the British government invited Armenian craftsmen to repair the ceramic tiles on the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. Among them were craftsmen from the Karakashian family, who came to Jerusalem and remained there, opening a shop called Jerusalem Pottery, at 15 Via Dolorosa. (http://www.jerusalempottery.biz) The shop is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

Today Jerusalem is the only place in the world where this type of ceramics is still being produced. But beware of cheap, fragile copies of Armenian pottery, which are mass-produced in factories in Hebron. Authentic Armenian pottery of the Karakashian Brothers is unique and each piece is hand- painted and hand-signed.

Note that the dishes can be used for serving only and must not be micro-waved or heated in the oven.

There are plates, bowls, mugs, and platters, wooden trays with embedded tiles, all brightly colored, with floral designs, Persian-style hares, or deer. Prices range from $19.00 for a plate to $93.00 for a wooden tray with embedded decorated tiles. A custom-made name-plate is $25.00.
3
Qaissi @ Arab bazaar

3) Qaissi @ Arab bazaar

What to buy here: Bedouin woven rugs and cushions .

Bedouin woven rugs and cushions make authentic gifts. In Arabic, farmers are referred to as Fellahin, while the Bedouins are those who migrate with their flocks, furnishing their goatskin tents with rugs and cushions.

It is the women who create the rugs, working together to spin, dye, and weave the wool on simple, ground looms. Traditionally a 25 meter length of rug is woven, then cut into pieces and sewn together to form a wider rug. Each region has its own traditional designs. Bedouin rugs are usually woven from 90% sheep’s wool and 10% camel wool. Colors range from white and beige to bright colors.

A bride’s dowry is tied to a traditional rug with a white stripe in the middle, then secured on a horse or camel for the ceremonial trip to her husband’s tent.

Red is the dominant color of most rugs, and some have triangular designs or strips. The rugs are sturdy and last a long time. A typical red patterned rug from Hebron is about 160 x 1 meter and costs about $175.00

Genuine Bedouin rugs can be purchased at Qaissi, at 107 Christian Street, open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. In the front of the shop foreign rugs are displayed, but let Qaissi take you into the back room where he keeps the Bedouin rugs, which range in price from $150 to hundreds of dollars. From floor to ceiling are rolled up rugs of every size and pattern. You can also purchase striped cushions, or cushion covers, which are easier to transport.
4
Sunbula

4) Sunbula

What to buy here: Traditional Palestinian Embroidery.

Traditional Palestinian women wear long dresses with densely embroidered bodices. Village women used to gather in groups at the end of the day, to gossip and embroider together. A lot of effort was put into preparing clothing for their daughters’ dowries. With modernization this tradition is in danger of being lost, but in recent years a number of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) have reintroduced tatreez, the art of embroidery, as an income-generating activity for Palestinian women.

There are two main types of embroidery—cross-stitch (fallahi) and couching (tahriri).

In cross-stitch a piece of loosely woven canvas is basted to the cloth (usually a dark color like black) and dense rows of X’s are embroidered on it, using different colors of thread, with red as the basic color. Then the threads of the canvas are pulled out, exposing the design on the dark background. Each region has its own recognizable designs, combining geometric patterns (triangles, stars, and squares) with motifs from nature, such as the moon of Bethlehem, Damask rose, serpent, bird, and cypress tree.

A black velvet coin purse with a cross-stitch embroidered design sells for $12.00.

In couching a string is basted to the cloth and fastened in place with tiny stitches. Couching developed in the Bethlehem area, and gold and silver cord are often used, twisted into delicate floral and geometric patterns.

A zipped Bethlehem evening bag, fully embroidered on both sides with couching stitch costs $52.00.

A17 x 17 inch embroidered cushion cover costs $100.00.

Sunbula, founded in 1996, is a Jerusalem-based NGO whose motto is “Empowering Palestinian artisans by promoting traditional handicrafts. “ Sunbula works with 18 craft-producing organizations, employing over 2000 artisans. All products are made by hand, helping to preserve Palestinian craft traditions.

Crafts are sold online (www.sunbula.org) and at two shops in Jerusalem. One of these is the House of Palestinian Crafts, 7 Nablus Rd., in a renovated traditional stone house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of the Old City. It is open Monday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and by appointment (02-6721707). A second store is at 1 David Remez Street, is open Tuesday to Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and by appointment.

Additional crafts sold by Sunbula are patchwork, weaving, olive wood carving, mother-of-pearl carving, olive oil soap, ceramics, and basketry.
5
Set Gifts

5) Set Gifts

What to buy here: Metalace.

A unique art form called Metalace (http://www.metalaceart.com/) was developed by Israeli artist and industrial designer Talila Abraham.

Inspired by traditional lace fabrics and embroidery designs, Abraham found a way to recreate their effect in metal, using advanced metal processing technologies, yet adding a personal touch to each piece, by shaping and finishing it manually. The resulting items, mainly in stainless steel, are sturdy and durable, yet delicate and lacy, traditional yet modern. “In the transition from the ‘language’ and texture of textile fabric to the stiffness of stainless steel, we create an art form that marries the old and the new.” says Abraham, who designs and creates each piece individually.

A 14” X 14” platter is based on 19th century Belgian lace. A square, fluted serving dish is reminiscent of Palestinian embroidery. Flower vases have contemporary floral designs and glass inserts, and a golden color brass bowl is patterned after 19th century Romanian lace. There are also delicate, lacy picture frames of various sizes. Prices range from $108.00 to $250.00.

A shop called Set Gifts features Metalace products in its display window. It has a branch at 34 Emek Rafaim and one in Mamilla. In addition, Set Gifts sells products by fifty Israeli artists and crafts people.

Hours: Sunday - Thursday: 9:00 to 21:00; Friday: 9:00 to 14:30

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

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Kids Self-Guided Tour of Jerusalem

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Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 Km or 4.3 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
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Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles

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