If you say ''Mahaneh Yehuda'', you have expressed, in two words, the essence of the authentic Jerusalem experience. Mahaneh Yehuda is synonymous with market-place. This is the aroma of Jerusalem, the humus of the Rachmo restaurant, and the Jerusalem Beitar soccer team. The marketplace, with its enticing smells and packed with crowds of shoppers (mainly towards the end of the week), is a celebration for all the senses: its colors, its picturesque characters, and the cries of the vendors that envelop us as we walk past the stands and examine the abundance of foods they offer.
Mahaneh Yehuda is not the original name of the marketplace, but rather of the neighborhood opposite it which was established in 1887 with 162 houses. It was founded by three partners: Johannes Frutiger, Joseph Navon and Shalom Konstrum and was named after Jodah (Yehuda) Navon, Joseph's brother. Over the course of time the name came to include the marketplace as well.
The marketplace was originally called the ''Bet Yaakov Marketplace'', after their produce. In the Ottoman period the marketplace expanded with no order or plan. Sanitary conditions deteriorated so severely that, in the late 1920s, the British ordered the merchants to vacate the area and thus put an end to this health hazard.
The construction was completed in 1931 and a sign bearing the marketplace's official name was installed. The marketplace has recently undergone renovations, including a roof over some of the open areas.