Razzouk Tattoo

room 31 St. George Street, Old City (Near the Jaffa Gate), Jerusalem, Israel 🇮🇱

schedule Friday
10:00 - 19:00arrow_drop_down

Not available


Tattooing is an art that the Razzouk family has introduced to Jerusalem 3 centuries ago bringing it with them from Egypt when my great grandfather moved here for trade, this art has been in the family for 700 hundred years starting in Egypt and was used to mark christian Copts with a small cross on the inside of the wrist to grant them access to churches, those without it would have difficulty entering the church; therefore, and from a very young age (sometimes even a few months old) christians would tattoo their children with the cross identifying them as Copts.

My grandfather, Yacoub Razzouk (known also as Hagop or "the tattooist"), was the first tattoo artist in this country to use an electric tattoo machine (which was powered by a car battery, the first to use color as well. Many artists (Israeli and western) have learnt lots from him and he was mentioned in many books and magazines that discuss the history of tattooing especially religious and christian tattoos. He had learnt it from his father who learnt it from his father who came from Egypt and brought with them the wooden hand-carved stamps that act as stenciles for the religuious designs of settings inspired from the bible such as the crusifiction, the assention, the virgin Mary and baby Jesus, etc... Pilgrims would stand in line waiting for their turn to be tattooed with either a cross or another design of their choice with the date as certification to their pilgrimage to the Holy Land and as a souvenir, and if they would visit another time in a different year, the date of that year would usually be added to the tattoo, if not a whole new tattoo be done to them. My Father speaks of a man who had visited Palestine for decades on a yearly basis bringing other pilgrims with him from Egypt every year, and every year he would bring his groups to be tattooed and, of course, get tattooed with the year again, which has ended him with tens of tattooed dates on his arms. Another story that my father is proud of is the fact that his father had tattooed the ruler of Ethyopia at that time who only wanted to be tattooed by the original artist. One of the interesting recent stories is that my father was contacted by an Armenian american doctor who invited him to the USA to have him put an original tattoo for him (probably costed him more than a hundred tattoos!), but for him, the authenticity and the heritage was all it mattered.

My father has been teaching me as his father has taught him, and I have decided to carry over the tradition and the heritage and hopefully, one day, teach it to my sons...

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