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.


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.  


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 thoughts on “Jerusalem Knights and Dragons Festival

  • November 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I wish I understood the thinking of the Iryah on this one. The knights of old who they celebrate were marauding Jew killers and thousands died at their hands both on their way to and from the attempts at liberating the “Holy Land” and during their sojourn there.
    It just seems so incongruous to celebrate their time in the Old City no matter how cool the idea might have seemed at the planning stages.

    • November 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

      That was the feeling the first time this festival was presented in October 2010 see:
      so the contrast now with all the excited family participation is all the more interesting.
      There are many programs the city promotes as “culture”, some I truly do not appreciate or understand.
      However, there are 1000s and 1000s of people out at night in the Old City, and if there is no violence it is not news, so we have to share the photos.

  • November 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    No criticism of your excellent reportage or photos (love strolling the streets of the Old City with you). This one has really got me stumped.
    When I raised my concerns with one of the staff at the entrance to Shaar Yafo in 2010 the young lady concerned was blissfully ignorant of the brutal history of the knight’s sojourn in the Holy Land and it is that ignorance that is most disturbing. Happy families having a great time in the Old City is wonderful but can we really celebrate the Knights (and the crusades that brought them) without a very great cringe?
    Tongue in cheek, how about a Cossacks evening with everyone riding horses through the streets pretending to run down and kill the happy families?

  • November 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Absolutely wonderful pictures – so bright and colourfull – wish i was there strolling along the Old City!!

  • November 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Fascinating post .sensational pictures.Great work.jalal

  • November 11, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Maybe this event is a tikkun for the events of the knights in the past! If you think about it, having all these people come and celebrate in peace and harmony is quite an accomplishment. The photos of the old city with the celebrants is beautiful. Thank you for making this visible for us outside the country!

    • November 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Thank you Toby! It is sad that the media ignores positive events, no matter how large.
      It is even sadder that as 100 rockets are being fired from Gaza into southern Israel today, the media ignores that too.

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