Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jerusalem Food Festival

Just after the international Jerusalem marathon successfully wrapped up here in the ancient city of Jerusalem,  the city again welcomed (or I should say, welcomes in the present tense) an exciting, international event. This time, the celebration is a delicious and unprecedented culinary tourism event called the "Old City Flavors Festival". For the first time ever, the gates of the four quarters of the Old City will be opened in the evenings and at night to reveal a wealth of authentic restaurants, music events, ethnic food markets, and arts and crafts fairs and workshops. Supposedly, the Old City is going to "come to life" as it once looked thousands of years ago. 
Interested in attending? The food festival opened its doors in the Old City on Sunday, March 27 and runs through Thursday, March 31, every evening between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. So, if you haven't gone yet, there's still time to get out there!

The Jerusalem Development Authority has suggested that the festival is just one of many recent initiatives on the "Jerusalem agenda" that has attempted to enrich the experience of both tourists and locals in hopes of connecting them to the wonders of Jerusalem. Items on this agenda include not only the Food Festival, Jerusalem Marathon, and upcoming Arts Festival, but also, broad general initiatives include the revitalization of the nightlife scene and increasing the hours of activity in the city. I have commented in recent blogs how I have felt the "modernization" of Jerusalem before me eyes, and I think a large part of it has to do with this active process being carried out by the Jerusalem Development Authority. Of course, the other part just has to do with the natural changes and advances that happen over time.

So, make your way down to the Old City and experience the unique ways 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. 
Interested in taking some of the classes or tours during the food festival? 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. 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. Check out the festival website for more information: click here.
This festival is a celebration of the city's diversity and cultural richness and is just one of many recent events that have been attempting to further Jerusalem's status as a national and international tourist attraction in recent years. Next up: the "Jerusalem Arts Festival", just around the corner.