The International Arts and Crafts Fair is one of Jerusalem’s most loved and long-held traditions, having taken place in the city for 36 years. Known interchangeably as Hutzot Hayozer, after the Arts and Craft Center where it is held, the festival spreads out to Mitchell Gardens and the Merrill Hassenfeld Amphitheater in the ancient area of Sultan’s Pool, opposite the Tower of David at the foot of the Old City Walls. The festival is popular with tourists and local residents, young and old and everyone in-between. This year between 120,000 and 130,000 are expected to attend. With its eclectic mix of arts, crafts, theater, dance and music, it's undoubtedly one of the major attractions of the summer season.
The fair brings a taste of far-flung cultures to Jerusalem with authentic, vibrant and colorful arts and crafts from 39 countries in the Far East, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Guest artists and artisans from abroad exhibit their crafts and works of art in unique booths and the collection of exotic, magnificent goods are truly a delight for the senses. Strolling through the fair stirs the imagination and leaves one with a feeling of wanderlust and the urge to throw a backpack over the shoulder and go off to explore other cultures around the world. More than 150 of Israel’s best artists also exhibit paintings, prints, ceramics, metalwork and jewelry, weaving and textiles, Judaica, toys, crafts using various techniques, works in wood and more.
In addition to concerts by leading Israeli artists such as Shlomi Shabat, Ehud Banai and Ivri Lider, there are small stages and wandering performers throughout the festival. Children can attend dedicated workshops and demonstrations. Other attractions include an Eastern Fair with Eastern folklore including a Bedouin tent and an exhibit of handicrafts, carpets, Arabic embroidery, copper utensils, Syrian furniture, leather work, shell work, glass, Armenian ceramics, engraving on olive wood, Arabic drums (Tarbukot), bottles of sand from the desert, spices and Hindi dates. Don’t miss the glass blower from Hebron demonstrating the creative process of glass blowing, using a special oven built at the site.
One of the highlights of the festival is the illustrious Tav Café. In their wandering courtyard and on the scaffolding and galleries, artists offer exquisite coffee, bread and honey or a glass of wine and cheese, all the while dancing, storytelling, singing gypsy tunes, performing wild acrobatics, offering yoga lessons and more. Tav Café is a memorable, interactive experience and the audience is invited to enjoy a moment in the limelight. No event is complete without good food, and the fair offers a cultural experience for the palate with different fares from the kitchens of the world, and ethnic music playing in the background. Located at Jerusalem's Sultan's Pool, the fair, began on August 15 and runs till August 27.Check out the video for the full story and stay tuned for more episodes of CITYsights.iTravelJerusalem.com is a new online international travel portal offering all the latest information on things to do, places to eat and places to stay in Jerusalem.