Light rail alone the Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

Light rail along the Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

The modern city of Jerusalem

The modern city of Jerusalem

It was fun to leave the old, walled city of Jerusalem and explore a bit in the modern era!  Audrey and I walked up the Jaffa Road to the Jewish market, Mahane Yehuda.  What a vibrant place!  It reminded me of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, but with more energy.  From there, we wandered, mapless, on the residential streets of the earliest Jewish immigrants to Jerusalem.  There was always something interesting to see, whether people, cats, or architectural elements.

Along the Jaffa Road (these buildings reminded my of New Orleans)

Along the Jaffa Road (these buildings reminded me of New Orleans)

Olive vendor in the Jewish market

Olive vendor in the Jewish market

Tea stall, Mahane Yehuda

Tea stall, Mahane Yehuda

Kippas for sale

Kippas for sale

Mahane Yehuda market, Jerusalem

Mahane Yehuda market, Jerusalem

A peak into the entry way of an apartment in a Jewish residential area

A peak into the entry way of an apartment in a Jewish residential area

Grillwork on window

Grillwork on window

Overflow from a crowded synagogue, Jerusalem

Overflow from a crowded synagogue, Jerusalem

Using a balcony for storage, Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

Using a balcony for storage, Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

Crescent on top of mosque in Kafa Kama

Crescent on top of mosque in Kafr Kama

Striped minaret, Kafa Kama

Striped minaret, Kafr Kama

One of the small villages near my sister’s kibbutz is the Circassian community, Kafr Kama.  My nieces go there to get their hair cut, and Audrey and Alberto like to buy their soft, round cheese from a local cheesemaker there.

Strainers ready for the next batch of cheese

Strainers ready for the next batch of cheese

Fresh, hand-crafted cheese, Kafa Kama

Fresh, hand-crafted cheese, Kafr Kama

My visit to Kafr Kama was one of the highlights of my Israel stay because it was so picturesque and full of culture.  This village has an interesting history.  It is home to the Circassians, an exiled group of Sunni Muslims from the Caucasus Mountains.  They were expelled from their homeland in 1864 after fighting the Russian czar.  According to the Circassian Heritage Center in Kafr Kama, “The Circassians were accepted by the Ottoman Empire and were settled all over the Middle East, including Israel, and today there are about 4000 Circassian in two villages in the north of Israel . . .”

The homes in Kafr Kama are built with the regions’s dark basalt rock rather than the more typical adobe-colored materials.  I was charmed by the rustic, rusted grillwork and weathered doors.  The homes, while old, were tidy with well-kept gardens.  The women wore pristine white headscarves.  It was a very picturesque place.

Resident of Kafa Kama

Resident of Kafr Kama

Blue double door with fancy grillwork

Blue double door with fancy grillwork

Minaret viewed through grill

Minaret viewed through grill

Circassian symbol on metal door

Circassian symbol on metal door

Circassian symbol on window of parked truck

Circassian symbol on window of parked truck

Another blue door

Another blue door

Detail, door

Detail, door

Succulents on a colorful porch

Succulents on a colorful porch

Traling succulents on a balcony

Trailing succulents on a balcony

Stone building with weathered shutters

Stone building with weathered shutters

Woman, Kafa Kama

Woman, Kafr Kama

Rustic door

Rustic door

Flower pot in a window

Flower pot in a window

Rusted grillwork

Rusted grillwork

Cloths drying in the sun

Cloths drying in the sun

Woman on the streets of Kafa Kama

Woman on the streets of Kafr Kama

Coke for sale, Kafa Kama

Coca Cola for sale, Kafr Kama

Blue doors

Blue doors.  Doesn’t this just shout out Mediterranean to you?