Every week, hundreds of people gather on cobblestone streets in the heart of Jaffa to visit the local flea market, one of Tel Aviv’s most vibrant destinations.
Originating as a bazaar in early-20th-century Jaffa, Shuk Hapishpishim (Jaffa flea market) is located in its original setting on Olei Zion street, in the Old Town. Nestled among the city’s historic streets and overlooked by the grand Ottoman clock tower, the market’s central piazza and pedestrian alleyways sit beneath colourful awnings, lined with stalls selling everything from valuable antiques to quirky trinkets.
An ongoing revamp, driven by an increase in tourism to Tel Aviv, totalled $275 million in 2017 and has seen lively cafés and boutique design stores pop up among the traditional antique stalls and craft booths that have defined the market for decades. But its laid-back atmosphere remains unchanged.
Open every day except Saturday, with reduced hours on Friday, the shuk is a gathering place for all. Friendly haggling is encouraged, both by shopkeepers and stall owners, as locals and tourists alike hunt for goods and bargains.
Marina Grechanik captures the flavour of the Jaffa flea market in a series of original illustrations.
Founded by a florist who ran a stall in the shuk, coffee shop Puaa is a local favourite, and everything from its chairs to its crockery is up for sale. The food is delicious too.
Jaffa flea market is a second home to many who spend the day sitting among eclectic collections of bric-a-brac.
The furniture on sale reflects the diversity of Tel Aviv: visitors will find everything from old Ottoman nightstands to Persian rugs and Arabic stools.
The majority of Shuk Hapishpishim is pedestrianised, with some venues stretching out onto adjacent streets and alleyways.
Every day, duos of backgammon players familiar to the shopkeepers come to the market from the early hours of the morning until it shuts at sunset.
The atmosphere on Olei Zion is lively, with vendors shouting out products and prices to the visitors. Haggling is accepted – and often expected.
The market is known for the diversity of objects for sale. Many visitors will rummage through everything from old stamps to shampoo bottles in search of genuine antiques.
Jaffa flea market is open from Sunday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm, and 9am to 2pm on Fridays.