Towards the end of Suq Khan al-Zait and the start of Suq l-Attaien, it is recommended to walk westwards into al-Dabbagha Street to reach Suq Aftimos. A few dozen meters on, one can see the German Church of St. Savior and the arches of Suq Aftimos’ northern entrance. This is a wide space, bustling with life and architectural variety, including a Russian church, a German church, Umar Ibn al-Khattab Mosque minaret, oriental shops, and groups of locals, expatriates and tourists from around the world.
Name and Location
Suq Aftimos is one of the most recent Suqs of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was named after the Greek Archimandrite Aftimos, who built it at the beginning of the twentieth century, completing it in 1902. The Suq is located west of the German Church of St. Savior and southeast of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Architectural Characteristics of the Suq
This Suq is characterized by its western architectural style, with its northern entrance composed of an arch of triumph, comprising three large sub-arches with staggered bricks and white-colored stone, clearly highlighting the influence of Jerusalem’s Islamic architecture. In the middle of the Suq is a large, pretty fountain with a classical design, depicting nymphs and animal figures spewing water. Shops are lined on both sides of the Suq and around the fountain. A significant leather-dyeing industry prospered in close proximity to this Suq, giving the name Dabbagha (dyeing) to the area until recently; however, it ended probably around the end of the nineteenth century, especially after the land on which the German St. Savior Church was built after the land was offered as a present by the Ottoman Sultan to Emperor Wilhelm II, when he visited Jerusalem towards the end of the nineteenth century. The Suq’s activity is now concentrated on selling leather products and bags to visitors and tourists, in addition to souvenir shops, restaurants, and cafes, offering a variety of western and local drinks and cuisines in a comfortable environment.