Armenian Ceramics

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Aside from the ceramics made by Armenians for millenia, there is a special variety of ceramics in the Holy Land known as Armenian Ceramics.

Honored by the Israeli Postal Service with a set of commemorative stamps in 2003-04, Jerusalem's two world famous Armenian ceramic workshops are always worth visiting.

The Palestinian Armenian Pottery Workshop, Nablus Rd, next to the East. Jerusalem American Consulate (; and Jerusalem Pottery, located on the Via Dolorosa, at the Sixth Station of the Cross in the Old City (; [tel.] 02/626-1587. The artisans of these workshops were originally brought to Jerusalem at the start of the British Mandate in 1919 to maintain the extraordinary ceramic tiles on the Dome of the Rock. Hand painted tiles from the workshops adorn the exteriors and interiors of buildings throughout Jerusalem, from St. Andrew's Church to the American Colony Hotel. The beautiful tile wall panels decorating the Sukkot Patio at the Residence of the President of Israel, were designed by Marie Balian of the Palestinian Pottery Workshop (Mrs. Balian has been honored with a special exhibition of her work at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.). The Karakashian family's Jerusalem Pottery Workshop is especially known for its individual tile designs. An array of hand-painted plates, vases, and other ceramic items for sale to the general public at very reasonable prices is available at both workshops. The bazaars of the Old City are flooded with printed, machine-made imitations of Armenian ceramics, but only the real stuff shines.

Fans of Jerusalem's Armenian ceramics tradition will want to check out a beautifully illustrated book, The Armenian Ceramics of Jerusalem, Three Generations, by Nurith Kenaan-Kedar. Published in 2003, it chronicles the work of both the Balian and Karakashian families, and is available at the Eretz Israel Museum Bookstore in Tel Aviv, or can be ordered at Steimatsky's Bookstores throughout Israel. Be sure to specify the English language edition. The A

Both Palestinian Pottery and Jerusalem Pottery are closed Sundays. When tourism is especially slow, it is best to call Jerusalem Pottery ahead of time to be sure they'll stay open for your visit.