Today we will be visiting the “old” Markets In Tel Aviv. We will be at Carmel Market, Nachlat Binyamin Market, HaTikva Market, and Levinsky Market.
Why did I call them “old”? Just to differentiate them from markets that were opened in recent years. Like North Market and Rothschild Allenby Market. Here you can find more about the New Markets Of Tel Aviv.
Carmel Market (official site) is probably the most famous Tel Aviv’s marketplace. Similarly to other markets (like Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem) it underwent changes in recent years. Bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and chef-owned food stalls appeared. Travel firms started to offer Market tours. And today it is a mix of the old market and a tourist destination.
Map of the area:
Usually, we park next to the Hassan Bek Mosque and the David Intercontinental hotel:
There are many (paid) car parks in this area. But, nonetheless, I would recommend arriving early (up to 9:00-9:30), since car lots are filled quickly.
Hassan Bek Mosque
The Hassan Bek Mosque was built in 1916, by Jaffa’s Turkish-Arab governor of the same name. At the time, Arab Jaffa and the recently founded Jewish-Tel-Aviv were both competitively expanding northwards and seeking to block each other; the mosque was part of Manshiye, Jaffa’s northernmost neighborhood which spread northwards along the Mediterranean seashore.
The mosque was used by Arab snipers to kill Jewish civilians, in the months preceding the British withdrawal.
According to Yosef Nahmias, former member of the Irgun unit which conquered the area in April 1948, he and his men planted demolition charges in the Hassan Bek Mosque immediately upon its capture and prepared to blow it up, but this was strictly vetoed by his commander Menachem Begin (future Israeli PM ).
The place of the razed Arab housing was taken by high-rise office buildings and a park, as well as the sea-shore Dolphinarium (used first for dolphin performances, stopped due to protests by animal rights groups, and than transformed into a nightclub – which was to become tragically famous in 2001). The Hassan Bek Mosque – spared due to the state and municipal authorities hesitating to be seen as desecrating a Muslim holy place – remained a single remnant of the area’s pre-1948 past.
From there it’s five minutes walk to the Carmel Market:
Carmel Market’s History
In the early 1920s the nearby neighborhood called Kerem HaTeimanim, literally ‘the vineyard of the Yemenites’, started its own marketplace which was called “HaKerem”, the vineyard. With the help of Zionist leader, Arthur Rupin, a group of Russian immigrants began to turn the small neighborhood into a bustling commercial center. Noticing its potential and impact, the Tel Aviv municipality, with Meir Dizengoff at its helm, encouraged its growth and permanence further by changing its name officially to Shuk HaCarmel, or the Carmel Market, renaming the road HaCarmel Street and allowing for permanent buildings and renovations within the alloted space.
With its growing success, local Arab farmers opened a competing market nearby which became a source of tension among the local populations in downtown Tel Aviv Yaffo for decades, with incidents of violence between Arabs and Jews continuing well into the 1930s and even during Israel’s War of Independence. Arab snipers shot at Jews shopping in the Carmel Shuk from the nearby Hassan Bey Mosque, one of the most well-known Arab mosques in the area, and still standing between the oceanfront and the marketplace.
During Israel’s austerity period of the 1950s, the Carmel Shuk rose to great prominence as the best and most direct source of local, fresh produce. Efforts by the municipality to move the market to a more central location in the city failed in the 1960s and 1970s with locals preferring the market’s intimate and authentic neighborhood charm. And as terrorist attacks tore through the heart of public Israeli life in the 1990s and early 2000s, the open market place suffered a downturn in visitors.
But in recent years, as the interest in local produce, outdoor experiential shopping, and blue-and-white purchases increased, as did the number of visitors and vendors to the Shuk. Thanks to a recent renovation, the Carmel Shuk of today is home to a range culinary treats that, together with covered walkways and shaded coffee stalls, welcomes leading chefs from Israel and abroad to its abundant sights, sounds and flavors.
Note: unless stated otherwise, all quotes were taken from the official sites.
Strolling At The Market
Fruits at the Carmel Market:
The Druze corner:
In Israeli markets, halva is a popular threat. It’s usually nut-butter based halva with sesame butter or paste (tahini), and sugar or honey as primary ingredients.
You can always add chocolate as well 😉
Cheese boutique at Carmel Market:
Food stall inside the market:
Honey based sweets, like Baklava and Kanafeh, are popular as well:
And of course olives and pickles:
At the beginning of Ha-Carmel street, almost all stands are food and utensils related. And towards its end (closer to Allenby) there are clothes, gadgets, and flowers.
In the photo above you can see cherry tomatoes of three colors. Though one may think that cherry tomatoes are relatively new, it has been cultivated since at least the early 1800s and probably originated in Peru and Northern Chile.
The back side of the market:
We’ve exited the market and went to look for a restaurant. In recent years, many authentic restaurants with homemade food were opened nearby. So, if you haven’t eaten at the market you can check out the restaurants to the west (closer to the sea) of the market.
Here is a typical place:
Nachlat Binyamin Market
Nachlat Binyamin market (official site) resides on the street under the same name in Tel-Aviv. Part of this street is closed to pedestrians. This part, the closer one to Carmel Market, used by artists to show their creations. Mainly there are handmade works, but sometimes there are music shows as well. This market occurs twice a week, every Tuesday and Friday.
Map of the area:
Nachlat Binyamin arts and crafts fair is the first and biggest of its kind in Israel, and one of the most beautiful market of its kind in the world. The market is original and renews itself with new products made by the artists and by new artists that join the market. All products are hand made and sold by the artists themselves making the visit to the market a very special one.
We have visited the Carmel Market on Friday, and I would recommend Fridays or Tuesdays. Since on these weekdays, Nahalat Binyamin is active.
We exited the market and went towards Nahalat Binyamin.
Approaching Nahalat Binyamin:
At Nachlat Binyamin
It’s was after 10 am, but still many artists were just coming. Well, it’s typical for Israelis.
Though it’s a touristic place, some artists may have objections to photography. I can understand their worries about somebody copying their work, but that’s not the way. If somebody wants to copy, s/he find a way to copy. Additional photographs can do only one thing, bring potential customers.
The fair is a very special experience. It is full of very special and unique handmade creations and designs, beautiful buildings, coffee shops. Here is one of the buildings:
Mainly on holidays, but sometimes on Fridays as well there are street performances and live music. On our visit to this market during Sukkot vacation, we saw a circus performance, a music show, and several live statues. Here are the photos:
The fair is open twice a week all year round on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:00 to 18:00 (June) July– August until 19:00 and Tuesdays 10:00 – 17:00 Fridays 10:00 – 16:30 during the winter.
This artist specializes in woodwork:
View from Nahalat Binyamin towards Allenby street:
B&W to Color:
Various cute creatures:
As long as I remember, this glass artist has always been there. He always creates his masterpieces while sitting there. I guess it both saves time and attracts people.
These baskets are created from old newspapers:
If you never visited Nachalat Binyamin and love such events then I would definitely recommend. Moreover, you can find there nice and unique souvenirs.
HaTikva Market and Carmel Market are two competing outdoor markets in Southern Tel Aviv. But since Carmel Market is closer to the sea and there are numerous hotels in the area, over the years it became a touristic spot as well. HaTikva Market, on the other hand, is a more authentic market with few tourists and almost no changes over the last decades.
HaTikva Market is located in the Hatikva neighborhood. Most of the market is on HaTikva street, but there are also shops/stalls on nearby streets. Though it’s not a big market it has everything from produce to meats and spices.
Map of the area:
Visiting HaTikva Market
We arrived at the market on a Friday morning. Parking is not that easy to find, but we were able to find free parking on Kemuel Street.
Approaching the market:
View of HaTikva Street:
The market has undergone a renovation in recent years and besides new pavement, it also becomes easier to visit the market on hot days ( it became covered market with fans).
I was quite surprised at how clean the market was. I expected a much worse experience. We found public restrooms at Berekhya Street and they were reasonably clean as well.
Restaurants At The Market
I’ve read about different restaurants at HaTikva Market, that serve authentic food. Maybe because it was too early we saw only one open restaurant, but it didn’t appeal to us, so we didn’t visit it. If you want to eat at the market, keep in mind that most of the people there haven’t changed over the last decades. Meaning, don’t expect to find healthy food there. Most of the food is either deep fried food or has lots of oil (I’m not telling that it’s not tasty, they just haven’t heard about the healthy food trend yet).
The main entrance to the market:
At the entrance to the market I saw this Vespa scooter:
The attached sidecar is completely closed. In Israeli weather it means that you don’t have to go to the sauna, you can simply sit in the sidecar 🙂
While visiting the market I didn’t see any tourists and there were no people with cameras. Thus I didn’t feel very comfortable photographing and this post has fewer photos than usual.
Here is a nice video about the market I found on YouTube:
And now we are going to visit Levinsky Market in Tel-Aviv (official site).
Map of the area:
It’s a small market that was named after the street it is located on (Levinsky street). The market specializes in spices, dried fruits, and nuts. But, let start from the beginning.
We’ve parked on HaRakevet St. (not far from Derech Menachem Begin) and then went on Derech Menachem Begin towards Levinsky st.:
Some back alleys with a glance towards the financial district:
Useful information about Levinsky Market (from the official site):
Shuk Levinsky runs through Levinsky Street, beginning at the corner of HaAliya Street and spreading out across nearby streets until ending near HaMashbir Street.
The shuk is open Sunday through Thursday, morning through evening. Some restaurants stay open during the late evening hours, check individual listings for details.
On Friday, the shuk closes in the early afternoon and on Saturday it is closed.
Brief History Of Levinsky Market
Taken from the official site:
During the 1930s, Tel Aviv was home to a small group of Jews from Saloniki, Greece. David Florentin was considered the leader of the group which, together with his pioneering activities for developing the city, earned him the nickname ‘David Palestina’. Most of the working class immigrants settled in the southern Tel Aviv neighborhood now-called Florentin, after David Florentin’s nephew Solomon Florentin, who was the first contractor in the area.
Before long, a range of spice shops and eateries opened up across the neighborhood, specializing in Balkan cuisine – and that’s how this marketplace came to be what we know today. Legend even has it, that the first spice blends for early-State home cooking were created in, by and for these neighborhood residents.
With the creation of the State of Israel, an influx of Iranian immigrants to downtown Tel Aviv brought with it new tastes and herbs from Persian cooking. And as the population grew, so did the market place, developing from its nuts and spice stalls into a bustling, commercial marketplace with luxury stores and gourmet restaurants.
Walk At Levinsky Market
And here we arrived at Levinsky Market:
Borekas (a.k.a. Bourekas) stand:
Borekase’s origin is Börek (also burek) and it came together with Jewish immigrants from Turkey. It’s family of baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough known as phyllo. The shape indicates the filling. The most standard is probably triangular ones and they are usually filled with salty cheese (Sirene). They are high in saturated fats (the dough is made with margarine or butter), thus considered by many as junk food. But, one in a while is ok 😉
When we arrived there were several tours, and here is one of them:
Tasting tours became quite popular in Israel and you can find them in many markets in Israel.
As I mentioned before, this market specializes in nuts, dried fruits, and spices:
Spices also include various kinds of tea with/out dried fruits:
The market consists of many small stores:
I haven’t made an extensive price comparison but checked several kinds of nuts and the prices on the market were lower than in our supermarket.
PEREG GOURMET is one of the more known firms. It was established in 1906 and it’s a family business that produces 60 varieties of spices, spice blends, and herbs:
A small store with olives and cheeses. I liked their cheese shaped lamps:
We’ve filled our dried fruits and nuts stocks and it’s time to leave Levinsky Market and head back to the car:
Last view on Derech Menachem Begin (the parking is on the left side):
As a kid, I hated visiting markets, but today visiting Markets In Tel Aviv is both tasty and photographic. But that is personal preference. If you have time then visit all of them. But if you are limited in time then I would choose Carmel and Nachlat Binyamin Markets. They are close to each other, thus you can visit both together. Just make the visit on Tuesday or Friday while Nachlat Binyamin Market is open. Moreover, if you have an option to make this visit during some holidays, prefer that as you might see street performers at Nachlat Binyamin.
What Markets In Tel Aviv did you visit? Tell us in the comments below.
That’s all for today and I’ll see you in future travels!
For additional points of interest nearby see Tel Aviv-Yafo page.
Here are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Sea Of Galilee.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.
And if you have any questions then check out Useful Information For Tourists To Israel.