This Family Keeps Over 700-Year-Old Business Moving In Jerusalem (Photos)

Annually, hundreds of Jerusalem pilgrims ink their bodies to commemorate their journey to the Holy land. When you think of Jerusalem, you wouldn’t normally associate the holy city with tattoos. Think again.

It’s a common thing among pilgrims, getting a tattoo to remember their time in Jerusalem. In the ancient tattoo business in Jerusalem, the Razzouk family is the leading brand.

A pilgrim getting a tattoo in the Razzouk shop

The family has been in this business for 700 years which is now run by 43-year-old Wassim Razzouk. The tattoo business for the Razzouk’s did not start in Jerusalem but in Egypt. The family later moved to Jerusalem in the 17th century after 300 years in Egypt.

An Armenian tattoo cross gotten at the Razzouk shopAn Armenian tattoo cross gotten at the Razzouk shop

Christian tattooing has always been used as a certificate of pilgrimage. The only way for people to prove … they’ve done the pilgrimage is by actually getting tattooed” Razzouk told CNN in September 2016.

The family business of tattooing has moved with the times. “The way they did it hundreds of years ago was done by a stick like this one with thick needles attached to it. This created a thicker, blurrier line that wasn’t too sharp. It was both painful and painfully slow” Anton Razzouk, Wassim’s father told CNN.

A tattoo wood block stencil that is 500 years old A tattoo wood block stencil that is 500 years old

Now, the tattoo process is modernised but the designs remain the same. A lot of tourists want cross based designs to reflect their faith.

While older Christians prefer the old tattoo designs, the young ones normally opt for modern tattoos with complex ink-work.

The family business will continue for a few more decades as Wassim’s son Nizar who is 13 years old is already learning the business.

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