On the Way to Jerusalem’s Ice Festival: Retroshalaim, a Retro Art Fair

This is the fourth installment in the series called On the Way to Jerusalem’s Ice Festival, which details the mishaps and surprises that occurred along the way to a Winter Wonderland in the midst of a hot, humid Israeli summer.

After traveling for two hours to get to Jerusalem, I met my friend, Maytal, at Jerusalem’s central bus station. Together, we went to catch a bus to the much dreamed about ice festival. Accidentally, we took the bus in the wrong direction and found ourselves outside the city, in Arab territories. Taking a train back to downtown Jerusalem, we ran into a sign announcing a retro art fair was taking place right that moment almost right around the corner.

Combining the Hebrew word of Jerusalem, Yerushalaim, with the word “retro”, the name of the fair was declared “Retroshalim”. We pronounced it “Retrushalaim”, so that it fits the name Jerusalem better.

We contemplated whether to go. Though neither of us planned to buy anything, it was a shame to miss this sight when we were so close and there at the “right time”. On the other hand, it was already around 2 PM and we were way late on our plans to arrive at the ice festival as early as possible. The accidental adventure outside Jerusalem was pretty exciting, yet the only reason I came to Jerusalem mid semester and half sick was to see ice. And lots of it.

Nevertheless, we decided to take a peak. We spent a short time at the fair, and were glad we did.

There were carvings and masks at the fair:

And there were all kinds of figurines:

There were stuffed animals to play with:

There were also dolls made for display:

Do you think these dolls not having a face is metaphorical to our society?

And there was a bizarre display:

Items reminding tradition were surrounded by buildings made of old stones:

Traditional Passover plate, upon which you're supposed to put the traditional Passover foods.

Old coins. I don't think they're only from Israel.

Fashion items of various kinds spread through the stands:

My friend, Maytal, bought a Trick or Treat shirt:

Since that’s all we bought, we had no need for this heavy-looking travel box:

As we left the fair, colors followed in our footsteps as we saw headdress for religious women:

As we hailed a cab, determined to finally make it to the ice festival, we saw this guy across the street, playing music.

Jerusalem’s Retro Art fair, Retroshalim, takes place every Thursday at 12:00-22:00. It showcases antiques, vintage, collectibles and used goods. It takes place at Agripas pedestrian outside mall, between Machane Yehuda Market and King George street. If you read Hebrew, click here for more info. If you don’t, call 03-7511883 or 052-4794141. Don’t forget to dial 972, Israel’s country code, before these numbers if you call from abroad. Israel is 10 hours ahead of US Pacific time, meaning that if it’s 10:00 AM in California (for example), it’s 20:00 in Israel.


Where’s your favorite street art fair located? Or where do you dream to go to attend one?



  1. Interesting! I’m so glad you made it to the fair! I guessed you would, though. 🙂

    Where did the carvings and masks come from? They look African to me. And I believe you’re right – not all of those coins are from Israel. I see some curly-headed men on some of them. Maybe from European countries and possibly America?
    Sabina recently posted..Traveling Through Egypt via Sleeper Train – Safe, Comfortable and Easy!My Profile

    • Hahaha, we couldn’t resist the temptation of being spontaneous and taking a look 🙂 All I managed to find out was that none of the sellers was the artist that created the merchandise. As for the coins, I guess they’re from a mixture of countries. I wonder if they’re the collective treasure of many people who moved to Israel from around the globe over the years…. or of travelers that didn’t “get rid” of all their coins before their plane home boarded. I have some coins from my travels, too.

  2. I love places like this! And I really like old wooden masks like in those first few photos. We actually bought one for Kali’s dad a few years ago when we were in Paris and managed to bring it home in our checked luggage unscathed!
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    • The African masks were some of my favorite items there. Bringing one in one piece in your checked luggage is impressive!

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