Friday, February 11, 2005

Old City Shuk, meat market, Jerusalem

Wow. As a "mostly vegetarian" I suppose I should not enjoy photographing meat markets this much, but I am fascinated by them. I took several pictures in the Shuk in Jerusalem, before the butcher chased me off.

The shuk is in the Arab quarter, and is just steps from the Cardo, which is I believe the oldest shopping street in the world. The history of Jerusalem is best treated in more space than would be appropriate for a photo caption, but there was a time when it was part of the Byzantine empire. Apparently Byzantine markets were meant to have wide streets, with columns running down the sides.

The Cardo was discovered during excavations of the Jewish quarter, and has been turned back into shops, mostly selling Judaica and touristy things. Stepping from it into the Shuk is like walking from a suburban mall into the middle ages.

While the Shuk is certainly representative of a different cultural tradition than that manifested in the Western reaches of Jerusalem, I don't think it is correct to say that it is part of a different city (so-called "East Jerusalem"). Rather than stray further from history into politics, I will stop here.


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