The Ultimate Flea Market – Jaffa Shuk HaPishpishim
There is no other flea market in Israel like Jaffa’s Shuk HaPishpishim; here you will be able to buy everything including the kitchen sink. Jaffa’s Flea Market is about 100 years old. The market is spread across several open streets and closed pedestrian alleys. The vendors display their goods hanging from every surface and spread out as far as they dare to go across the street. You’ll see carpet stores which have spread their carpets out on the sidewalk and into the street; piles of second-hand clothing and new clothes for sale hanging above your head as you walk through the covered alleys.
The items on sale include treasure and junk of every kind. Among the items on sale there are old jeans, jewelry, Persian tiles, carpets, furniture, antiques, clothes imported from India, accessories, antique collectors’ items, musical instruments both new and antique, household items, kitchen utensils, toys, make-up, glassware, copper pots and much more. You can find old family photo albums, original art and Judaica. Among the highlights of the market there is Palestine, Land of Israel a store holding items gathered by Amotz Yaakobi over the last 20 years. It includes WWII helmets and propellers. For something less local there is Taos where you’ll be met by life-size statues of Hollywood stars and film characters as well as kitsch, props and décor from Hollywood movie sets. Halleluyah sells musical instruments from around the world including unusual instruments like the Thai wooden frog, an Australian rain stick and darbuka drums. Alma is a jewelry store selling hand-made beaded items made by the store proprietor, Ava Rodan. Sofi is a store for plastic everyday items; Renaissance is a specialty antique store; Cyrus sells wooden sculptures and Niso’s Decorative Goods sells everything trendy and kitsch. Aki is an antique store where the items are genuine and rare while Mansur Carpets sells unique tile carpets made with a special technique.
It is not just the goods on sale that attract visitors to the market but the sights, sounds, smells and characters you’ll see on the streets. You will truly feel like you are in the Middle East and for photographers it is a wonderland with unique, unusual characters and cultural oddities wherever you look. On Friday mornings there is a “sub-market” in the southern area of the regular market. Here you will find the really unusual items.
Where to Eat in Jaffa Flea Market
Of course no day out in Israel is complete without food and drink and Jaffa Flea Market has its fair share of eateries. Margoza is a café/bakery run by a husband and wife team. While there try their chouquettes cream puff pastry. Capitolina is the place to stop for ice-cream with 32 flavors (9 Olei Zion St.); for vegetarian food try Christopher’s Bar (13 Beit Eshel St.); Chef Zach Melul’s restaurant Elementary is a down-to-earth Mediterranean eatery (7 Beit Eshel St.) and Gibberish stays open all day and into the night (14 Amiad St.). Tzarfati – Fish of the Sea has been serving up fresh seafood since 1949. For Italian cuisine served in an authentic Jaffa atmosphere try Sola (31 Beit Eshel St.). Stop for a drink of freshly squeezed juice at Santo’s Juices or Tamuz.
When: The flea market operates from Sunday to Thursday 10am-6pm and on Fridays 10am -2pm.
Where: Enter Jaffa from Tel Aviv and when you reach the famous clock tower in the middle of the main road (Yefet Street) head left away from the sea (east) down the narrow lanes and explore to your heart’s content.