In the shops of Jerusalem, only empty spaces and weary hearts remain.

The Old City of Jerusalem has stood for thousands of years. People from around the world come here to witness the extensive history and foundations of religions and empires that persist to this day.

Today, a stroll through the Old City resembles a ghost town. In the Jewish Quarter, your voice echoes along the cobblestone paths and closed establishments. This has a tangible impact. According to the Israeli Minister of Tourism, before the conflict between Israel and Hamas, around 15,000 tourists entered Israel daily. On October 30, only 26 tourists arrived in the entire country.

The livelihoods of many restaurants and shops depend on a constant flow of tourists, and the war has significantly hit Jerusalem's economy. Walking through the Old City and talking to shop owners helps understand how this affects the local residents.

A herd and wine from Rewined Migran Krikoryan opens his small, stylish wine bar, offering access to over a dozen tables and chairs lining the walls. He has permission for 16 outdoor tables and four inside, but recently, he hasn't bothered to set up more than a few tables. Krikoryan's restaurant is on the usually bustling street of the Armenian Quarter of the Old City.

Migran Krikoryan, owner of an Armenian bistro and wine bar. Aiman Oghanna for NPR "Managing this place requires a lot of money. If this situation persists, we will start losing a lot each month," he says. "That's why we are rethinking; we are trying to talk to the owner [of the space] so that maybe we can come to an agreement on rent and everything else, you know, until everything stabilizes. He's a good guy."

Krikoryan is a third-generation Armenian living in Jerusalem. His grandparents fled here during the Armenian massacres in the 1910s. He says his restaurant is loved for its Armenian cuisine. He wants it to be known for selling Armenian wine as well and had just started importing it when the war began but had to stop because he couldn't afford it.

Krikoryan says financial problems are widespread, and many of his friends are now unemployed. But the emotional weight of the conflict is a separate burden to bear. His wife is Palestinian, and she has family in Gaza.

"So everyone is to some extent concerned and oppressed," he says. "At least we still have somewhere to go. You know, it's very tough."

Cafe Bajjali & Ko Café Bajjali & Ko is a Palestinian-Korean fusion restaurant in the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Natalie Bajjali named the restaurant after her father and mother's last names. As a Palestinian-Korean woman, she wanted to share the food she enjoyed in her childhood. But Bajjali closed her doors after the Hamas attacks on October 7 for safety reasons and has not reopened since.

Natalie Bajjali owns a Palestinian-Korean fusion cafe in the Old City. Aiman Oghanna for NPR "Before, if any situation happened in Jerusalem or the country, probably the first place to get hit was the Old City," she says. "As you see, walking through the city, there aren't as many people, few traffic jams, people are afraid to come down."

Her restaurant is near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, usually a popular pilgrimage site for Christians. Earlier this week, only a few people roamed inside the basilica, and the surrounding area was almost empty.

This family-owned restaurant has been in the Bajjali family since the 1920s, but she is unsure when – or if – it will reopen.

"I'm just grateful that I'm safe here," she says. "Priorities have changed – in a way, my priorities are no longer my business. My thoughts are elsewhere."

Work of Peace Itay Levi's shop is one of the few businesses open on the street of the Jewish Quarter. His windows are adorned with small wooden harps that he crafts by hand from cypress.

"This is called Kinnor. It's a Jewish instrument that King David played," says Levi, holding the instrument. "It's like a small harp – an eight-string harp."

Itay Levi engages in music, and Kinnors are wooden harps with intricate carvings. Aiman Oghanna for NPR He also opened just three months ago. According to him, business almost froze after the war. The sign of his shop is in Hebrew, and when asked what it means, he translates: "Work of Peace."

"We are in a state of war," he says. Levi is Jewish, and he says he has no words to describe the emotional damage inflicted by the attacks on October 7. "Every day, I am confronted with this... every day feels like a new adventure."