Mahane Yehuda (Hebrew: מחנה יהודה, “Camp of Judah”) is a historic neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel. Established on the north side of Jaffa Road in 1887, it was planned and managed by the consortium of Swiss-Christian banker Johannes Frutiger and his Jewish partners, Joseph Navon and Shalom Konstrum. By the end of the 19th century, it encompassed 162 homes. Originally occupied by upper middle-class residents, it became a working-class neighborhood beginning in the late 1920s. Today the neighborhood is part of Nachlaot. The Mahane Yehuda Market (“the shuk”) located across the street was named after the neighborhood.
Mahane Yehuda lay on land owned by Bank Frutiger, which owned other tracts around the city. The housing project was initially advertised in the Havatzelet newspaper in 1882 (issue 26). The advertisement, placed by Joseph Navon, promised the first fifty families a free plot on the condition that they would build their homes within six months. If this condition was not met, they would be required to pay Navon 300 groschen for the land. No one answered the advertisement.
Five years later, the consortium of Swiss-Christian banker Johannes Frutiger and his Jewish partners Navon and Shalom Konstrum came up with another plan to sell the neighborhood. This plan called for each home buyer to pay 25 napoléons up front for the land, and the remaining 150 napoléons of the costs – including land, construction, and joint upkeep of the water cistern and roadways – over a 15-year period at a rate of 10 napoléons per year. This arrangement proved far more attractive to buyers, who snapped up the initial offering. In the month of September 1887 alone, 39 buyers signed up to purchase homes.
At the time of its construction, the only other buildings in the vicinity lay on the south side of Jaffa Road: a two-story home occupied by the British Consul-General of Jerusalem (today the Mahane Yehuda Police Station) to the east, and the neighborhood of Beit Yaakov, established in 1885, to the west. By the end of 1888, 50 homes had been built in Mahane Yehuda and some buyers had begun re-selling their homes. A decade later, 162 homes had been constructed. The homes were constructed in typical fashion for the day, with an inner room accessed from an outer room.[