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 is the starting point for the ‘Knights and Dragons’ theme,
where a large map of the Christian Quarter route is displayed
and musicians entertain.
Smart families got a map with the 17 station locations,
but does not include the many moving ‘photo ops’.
Last week I went early,
as good photographs are hard to get at these crowded events.
Near the beginning of the route was this colorful dragon head.
A cardboard castle and its defending knight were ready for photo action,
near the real Knights’ Palace.
One lane was dark,
but most were well-lit and many costumes added color.
Actors were ready for the shows to begin.
A barber shop was open under one of the red festival signs,
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
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.
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.
Retracing some of my route, I noticed these smokers were gone,
the lane was dark and quiet for festival visitors.
The actors were in Muristan Square and so was the “EXIT” sign.
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.
Back near Jaffa Gate, large crowds were watching gladiators fight
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,
but I think this family had the best view.
And as usual, when tens of thousands of people come,
the Jerusalem streets fill with traffic in all directions.
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.