Tel Aviv has six markets in operation, but each tells a different story about the country, its neighborhoods, their transformations, and the region’s economy. Bazaars in Tel Aviv have changed greatly in the last 15 years. In most cases, they lost their initial context as spaces of interaction between vendors selling goods and buyers looking for cheap products. Very often they get replaced by eateries, pop-up restaurants, and bars serving food and drinks from all around the world.
Carmel market is the most central bazaar of Tel Aviv, operating every day except Saturdays, like all the markets in Israel. The place is busy all week, but the engine of the shuk starts to speed up on Wednesday afternoon, reaching its peak point on Friday morning. Shabbat, which begins on Friday just after sunset, for many people means a perfectly prepared dinner with many festive dishes. For decades, Shuk HaCarmel has been a place to get the best quality ingredients—whether vegetables, fruits, meat, or fish—in the middle of the city. For around 15 years, Shuk HaCarmel has changed its character. Primary products like vegetables and fruits have gotten more expensive and rare while many vendors' stalls have changed into food stands.
Shuk Levinsky, located in the heart of downtown Tel Aviv, does not resemble a typical bazaar with market stalls. It is a network of shops, delis, and small restaurants, operating in a lively neighborhood—similar to çarşı in Istanbul. Recently, Levinsky market went through a profound change, turning into a very gentrified, fashionable spot in the city with chic coffee places and eateries. In 2020, the central street of the market was closed to cars, giving free access to the bazaar for pedestrians. But the history of Shuk Levinsky started back in the late 1920s when the Jewish migrants from Greece and Turkey arrived in the newly established city of Tel Aviv. The shoppers were selling mostly Mediterranean goods: olive oil, olives, pickles, cheese, dried and smoked fish. In the 1930s, the subsequent waves of migrants, including those from Yemen and Iran, arrived and opened their shops with oriental spices. The area became an important trade center, with stores of tailors, goldsmiths, or furniture dealers. Until the 1970s, Levinsky Street and Aliyah Street hosted large wholesale stores of vegetables and fruits. The warehouses have moved out of the district, but the small Yemenite and Iranian spice shops and Turkish, Greek, and Bulgarian delis remained.