Jerusalem’s Walls and Gates
In this section we are going to introduce you to a historical monument in Jerusalem. In this issue we chose Jerusalem’s walls and gates. The old city of Jerusalem is surrounded by a splendid two and a half-mile limestone wall built by the Turkish ruler Suleiman El Hakim over an ancient Roman wall. The work on the wall as it currently exists started in early 1536 and ended 1539.
The walls have seven gates. I am going to start our tour with my favorite gate, where I was raised. Bab El Amoud (Damascus Gate) is, in my opinion, the most beautiful with its many turrets. It is called the Damascus Gate because the road out of this gate led to Damascus. Recent excavations have revealed the ancient Roman entrance beneath it. A person leaving the Old City was not able to head westward until after the Six Day war. Heading west was my way to school.
After a step climb we reach Bab El Jadid (the New Gate). This Gate derived its name because it was built last, in 1889. Jaffa GateAfter several hundred feet we turn southward descending to Bab El Khalil (Jaffa Gate). An opening next to the gate was made and a street leading into the city was paved by General Allemby to allow Kaiser Wilhelm’s carriage to pass through. It is called the Jaffa Gate because the road out of this gate led to Jaffa, A Palestinian city on the Mediterranean coast under the occupation of Israel. Also known as Bab El Khalil because the road out of it also led to Al Khalil a city in southern Palestine under the Palestinian Self rule.
Heading up Jabal Sahion (Mount Zion), once reaching the peak we turn east towards Bab El Nabi Daoud (David’s Gate). Also known as Zion Gate. In Arabic the gate derive its name from King David whose traditional burial tomb faces the Gate. On the other hand it is referred to as Zion Gate because it is situated on Mount Zion. A road is paved through and cars can drive through this gate to Jaffa Gate or Dung Gate.
Walking down the kidron Valley we reach Bab El Magarbeh (Dung Gate), so called because during the Byzantine period garbage was deposited there. This gate faces the city of David or Siloan.
After a few hundred feet we turn north reaching Bab El Rahmeh (Mercy Gate). Bab El Rahmeh is divided into two arches, which were blocked by the Moslems.
Continuing north we reach Bab El Isbat (Lions Gate) also called St. Stephen’s gate because it is believed that the saint was martyred there. In Arabic, it is also referred to as Bab Sitna Mariam (Mary’s Gate) because the Virgin Mary’s birth place is thought to be inside the gate. Chiefly, it is known as the Lions Gate because, historically, all victorious heroes entered the city through this gate.
After a short walk uphill we turn west heading to Bab Al Zahireh (Flower Gate), also known as Herod’s Gate, believed to lead to his Palace. We will end our tour by continuing west till we reach Bab El Amoud.
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