Shopping in the Holy Land

Shopping when traveling offers an opportunity to interact with people of the local culture as well as a chance to return home with gifts and memories of your travels. The Holy Land is known for offering memorable items made of stone, pottery, glass, clay, olive wood, cloth, leather and more. Many of the items are available on line and can be shipped in time for Christmas if you order soon. To make the most of your shopping experience while touring the Holy Land, here are a few tips.

First, currency seldom matters. You will see prices in Israeli Shekels as well as US Dollars and you can purchase items in most shops in both denominations. They can also point you to a local money changer who can offer a fair exchange rate.

Second, the closer you are to major tourist sites, the higher the prices. Think of this as a convenience fee paid by those who do not venture into the lesser traveled places. As you move “off the beaten path,” you are more likely to find better deals. Take time to shop around and you can quickly learn average pricing for most items.

Third, be conscious for how the item you are considering was made. If it was made by an artist, then you are likely to pay more because of the item’s uniqueness and the time and detail applied by the artist. More typical items that are found in many prices will be priced lower. Ask the shop owner where the item was made, and most will show you the difference between handmade, machine made and imported items from China.

Certain cities and regions are known for their work, for example:

Hebron Glass refers to glass produced in the City of Hebron as part of a flourishing art industry established in the city during Roman rule in Palestine. Hebron’s Old City still contains a quarter named the “Glass-Blower Quarter” and Hebron glass continues to serve as a tourist attraction for the city.

Dead Sea Products refers to cosmetic products based on materials extracted from the Dead Sea, such as salt, mud, and potash. A spa technician came up with the idea of marketing Dead Sea mud after watching women tourists scooping up the mud to take home. There are many companies making and selling Dead Sea Products.

Bethlehem Olive Wood has global recognition for its quality and uniqueness. One can find items such as crosses, nativity scenes, candle holders, chalices, figurines, prayer beads, and more. Look for factory stores and you can see the products being made while you shop.

Online shopping is available at many shops. Buy now to allow shipping time for Christmas. All tours booked with Aeolus Tours include opportunities to shop and get to know the people who make and sell local products. Good luck finding that ideal gift or item to remember your trip.

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