The Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem municipality invited the public to partake of an unprecedented culinary tourism event with the Old City Flavors Festival. For the first time ever, the gates of the four quarters of the Old City were opened in the evening and at night to reveal a wealth of unique, authentic restaurants along with music events, ethnic food markets, and arts and crafts fairs and workshops. The festival began on Sunday, March 27 and runs through Thursday, March 31, every evening between 18:00 and 23:00.
According to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the festival is a celebration of the city’s diversity and cultural richness and the latest in a long line of events that have been furthering Jerusalem’s status as an international tourist attraction in recent years.
“Jerusalem is a breathtaking mosaic of cultures that came into being thanks to the singular, wonderful human variety that characterizes the city’s population,” Barkat said in a statement. “Jerusalem gives voice to many historical epochs, traditions, customs and art from many grand sources. This culinary festival is another step in the development of Jerusalem as a national and international tourist attraction.”
Moty Hazan, the CEO of the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA), said that the festival was another initiative of the JDA aimed at “enriching the experience of tourists to the Old City and encouraging Israeli tourists to connect to the wonders of Jerusalem.” Hazan added that the JDA promoted many events in the Old City throughout the year, “revitalizing the nightlife scene and increasing activity hours for the benefit of all.”
Indeed, the Old City Flavors Festival offers a remarkable opportunity to discover the secret flavors and aromas of the Old City and the unique, delicate fabric of life in the Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Armenian quarters in the nighttime hours.
Throughout every evening, seven activity centers – Jaffa Gate, Damascus Gate, Muristan Square, the Hurva Square, the Davidson Center, the Cardo, and the Armenian Quarter Courtyard – will host food and arts and crafts markets and various workshops. At the same time, special meals will be hosted in the restaurants of the Old City. The man behind the choices of participating restaurants is Chef Assaf Granit, who has become something of a Jerusalem institution himself with such eateries as Adom, Lavan and Colony serving up some of the best food in the city from under his meticulous hands.
Cooking classes, given by the staff of the Teamim School of culinary arts, will be held in the Cardo, while wine workshops will be held in the nearby Jerusalem wine shop. These will be given by Yoram Cohen, the owner and winemaker at the critically acclaimed Tanya winery as well as one of the contestants on the latest Israeli season of ‘Big Brother.’ In order to round out the experience of festival-goers, jazz concerts will be given on the walls of the Old City, and tours winding between the various quarters, markets and restaurants will be held every evening, including some in English.
Some of the activities are free. It should be noted that the restaurants in the Armenian, Christian and Muslim quarters are not kosher.