Jerusalem Knights and Dragons Festival

A priority for City Hall has been to encourage

 visitors to come at night to the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel.

  And the current ‘Festival of Knights in the Old City’ has done the job.

Jaffa Gate at night

Jaffa Gate is the starting point for the ‘Knights and Dragons’ theme,

Map Old City Christian Quarter

where a large map of the Christian Quarter route is displayed

 Jafffa Gate

and musicians entertain.

Jaffa Gate

Smart families got a map with the 17 station locations,

Dragon, Jaffa Gate

but does not include the many moving ‘photo ops’.

Last week I went early,

crowd at Jaffa Gate

as good photographs are hard to get at these crowded events. 

Dragon head

Near the beginning of the route was this colorful dragon head.

Castle

A cardboard castle and its defending knight were ready for photo action,

Knights Inn

near the real Knights’ Palace.

alley way

One lane was dark,

Dragon, Knight Festival Old City

but most were well-lit and many costumes added color.

actors in costume

 Actors were ready for the shows to begin.

Barber shop Old city

A barber shop was open under one of the red festival signs,

actors in costumes

which pointed to the actors getting ready in Muristan Square.

As I said, smart people took a map.

This was not the first time I got confused at Muristan Square

street Old City

and headed in the wrong direction, 

but this was the first night of Eid Al-Adha, the Muslim ‘Feast of Sacrifice’.

It was so crowded on the narrow paths

that I did not get a photo of the smelly animal being pushed in a cart.

His sad eyes seemed to know he was going to be the feast.

Arab woman and man, nijab

Following closely to an English-speaking tourist group,

I got only this one picture of a candy store.  

Finally,

spotting a sign to the Via Dolorosa, I headed out of the Muslim Quarter.

men smoking water pipes

Retracing some of my route, I noticed these smokers were gone,

 the lane was dark and quiet for festival visitors.

actors in Muristan Square

The actors were in Muristan Square and so was the “EXIT” sign.

signs Knights Jerusalem, Old City shuk

I do not know if the free Jerusalem Knights Festival

brought paying customers to shops, but many more were open

than for the first night of the Festival in October 2010.

gladiators, Old City , Jaffa Gate

Back near Jaffa Gate, large crowds were watching gladiators fight

girls dancing

and dancing-girls.

kids at Jerusalem festival, Jaffa Gate

Hundreds of families, many with young children,

seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Many children were on their parents’ shoulders,

as it was very hard to see the performers.

I found a bench to stand on, 

picture children on balcony

but I think this family had the best view.

Picture Jerusalem at night

And as usual, when tens of thousands of people come,

 the Jerusalem streets fill with traffic in all directions.

photo Jerusalem festival knights

There are still two more Thursday nights in November to enjoy the festival.

If you cannot come and want to see more:

 additional photos on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.

9 Special Signs of Jerusalem

I love the signs in Jerusalem, Israel.

I wonder if it’s a ‘Only in Israel’ thing? 

Here are photos of 9 of my favorite signs.

welcome to school sign

1. The city of Jerusalem wishes students good luck on the new school year.

sign

2. This sign was only up for a short time. I’m not sure how authentic

the “cheeps” were, but they are still in business with a different sign.

sign misspelled

3. When it comes to English spelling, this is an example of excellence.

sign old city

4. The city in its wisdom is changing all “ch” to “h” in street signs.

It works for “Habad” Street, but “Hen” Street?

5. Then there are the Hebrew equivalents for English brand names,

like “Crocs.”

6. This sign in Kikar Safra, Safra Square, is just asking to be touched.

voting sign

7. New signs are up for the municipal elections to be held on November 20  

for community representatives in “Heart of the City” neighborhood. 

Yad Ben Zvi

8. Remember this old sign at the entrance to “Yad Yitzchak Ben-Zvi,

the library of the former Israeli President?

Yad Ben Zvi building

This is the sign on the brand new Yad Ben-Zvi building

to be dedicated tonight,

  which will house its international school on Jerusalem studies.

sign

9. Sometimes it is hard to know which way to go 

and even harder to predict what will happen next.

Southern Israel has been bombarded by rockets from Gaza,

though you would never know it by the media headlines.

If this post seems too lite under the circumstances,

please read this brilliant blog which sums it all up so well.