The transformation that took place in Machane Yehuda Market in central Jerusalem is remarkable (official site). From an ordinary loud and dirty wet market to a posh shopping areas filled with exotic restaurants, coffee shops, bars, pubs, tons of cool little shops that sell just about everything, and – ofcourse – an upscale version of the former obligatory market. Every year when I visit year I go back and find myself completely overwhelmed with how things look. Last year, the hard-working Jerusalem municipality arranged a festival, or a carnival – some would say, inside the market area. The festival, called Balabasta (Baal-Basta), was a very well executed event that showed the best of the market with some of the most wonderful local culture shows.

It was total madness, absolutely insane, and a lot of fun. Music, performances, a parade, dancing, singing, and a lot of delicious food.


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I could find very little in English about the event. But Go Jerusalem has a bit :

Balabasta Festival 2012 in Shuk Machane Yehuda

Machane Yehuda comes to life after hours for the third year in a row as dancers, musicians, sculptors, actors, poets, and those who have yet to be categorized weave in and out of the fresh and colorful produce at the 2012 Balabasta Festival (part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture).  This year, the event will ramp up the musical content (look out for a surprise straight from the market alleys) and larger-than-life art projects undertaken in cooperation with local merchants.

The events will take place on Sundays in August (5, 12, and 19) from 17:00-23:00.

Literally, "come to the shop-stall", "Balabasta" will transform the market into a centennial carnival of sorts, complete with street performances, a collaborative wall-of-origami project, live video art projections, watermelon giveaways, chili eating contests, concerts, giant puppets, sets from DJs and bands, produce carving workshops and more.

It’s a veritable cacophony of music, art and food – with many of the cafes and restaurants staying open late to serve the crowds and culinary tours of the shuk’s hottest kitchens.


Want to feel some of the fun? Watch these two videos:



Now in photos.


Lots of street performers…


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While the market is still going on with the usual everyday life routines…

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What did we have to eat? Tons of food, but since you’re probably more interested in the authentic local cuisine – here’s some hummus for you.


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My little sis and friends took me out to this one. Thanks, sis! was a blast!

Tags: Balabasta Festival; carnival; festival; food; hummus; jerusalem; market; parade; Shuk Machane Yehuda; street performances;

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