Photo Elia is a special old-world photography shop in the Christian Quarter. It is run by an Armenian family for three generation and is mostly known for its unique old prints of Jerusalem.
History of Photo Elia
Elia photo was founded by Elia Kahvedjian, an Armenian who was orphaned as a child during the First World War and brought to Nazareth by the ANERF – the American Near East Relief foundation. In his school in Nazareth Elia developed a skill in photography and photo development. He eventually became the Photography teacher apprentice. As an adult, Elia moved to Jerusalem, and by 1947 he ran three photography shops. In his free time, Elia took photos of Jerusalem and environs, capturing Jerusalem’s special moments, and daily life. In 1948 Elia moved to a single shop in the old city, the one owned by the family to this day.
In the 1990’s Elia’s son, George, started selling framed prints of his father’s photos. The shop became known for its special photographic art works, and it is the shop’s main attraction to this day. In 2010 I chatted with George in a short video about his shop –
Visiting Photo Elia
Today the shop is run by Eli, the grandson of Elia. He is very sociable and presents with great passion his grandfather’s work and talent. Visiting the Photo Elia is a great break when touring the old city. It is one of several hidden gems in the alleys of Jerusalem’s old city.
For an in-depth exploration of the old city that will include Photo Elia and other special destinations we recommend a full day tour of Jeruslem.