The Old City Gates
The main entrance to the Old City is
the Jaffa Gate, which was built by Suleiman in 1538. The name in Arabic, Bab el-Halil or Hebron Gate, means
"The Beloved" and refers to Abraham,
the beloved of God who is buried in Hebron.
The gate on the western side of the Old
City marked the end of the highway leading from the Jaffa coast and
now leads into the Muslim and Armenian quarters. A road allows cars to
enter the Old City through a wide gap in the wall between Jaffa Gate and
was originally built in 1898 when Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany visited
Jerusalem. The ruling Ottoman
Turks opened it so the German Emperor would not have to dismount his
carriage to enter the city.
Herod's (Flowers) Gate
The entrance into the
Muslim quarter through the northern wall.
Damascus Gate (c. 1900)
Damascus (Nablus) Gate
Located on the northern wall, it
is the busiest and most magnificent of all Jerusalems gates.
The gate consists of one large center gate originally intended for use by
persons of high station, and two smaller side entrances for commoners.
So named because it was constructed
relatively recently - in 1889.
The New Gate was built with permission
of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and is located near the northwestern corner
of the city. It leads into the Christian quarter.
Zion Gate (note the bullet marks)
Located in the south, this was one of the main gates
used by the Israel
Defense Forces in 1967 to
enter and capture the Old City.
The stones surrounding the gate are still
pockmarked by weapons fire. This entrance leads to the Jewish and Armenian quarters.
Located along the south wall, this gate is
closest in proximity to the Temple
The gate received its name because starting in the 2nd Century, refuse was hauled out of the city
through this gate.
Located in the east wall, the
entrance leads to the Via
Dolorosa. Near the gates crest are four figures of lions, two on
the left and two on the right. Legend has it that Sultan Suleiman placed
the figures there because he believed that if he did not construct a wall
around Jerusalem he would be killed by lions.
Lion's Gate (note the dual lions on either side)
Israeli paratroops from the
55th Paratroop Brigade famously stormed through this gate during the Six-Day War to conquer the Temple Mount, after which they
unfurled the Israeli flag above the Old City.
Golden (Mercy) Gate
Facing the Mount
of Olives on the eastern side of the Old City, this gate was
constructed in the post-Byzantine period.
According to Jewish tradition,
the Messiah will enter Jerusalem through this gate. To prevent this, the
Muslims sealed the gate during the rule of Suleiman.
Golden (Mercy) Gate
Dating back to the pre-Ottoman era,
the three arches of this gate are located in the south wall and are sealed
This entrance to the south wall is
sealed shut and also dates back to the pre-Ottoman times.
Constructed prior to the Ottoman
period along the southern wall, the now sealed gate led to the underground
area of the Temple Mount known as Solomon's Stables.
Sources: Old Damascus Gate, Old Dung Gate, Herod's Gate,
Single Gate from Israel's National
Photo Collection. Golden Gate, Dung Gate and New Gate
photos by Jack Hazut, courtesy of Image-Pro, Torah Educational Software. Zion
Gate copyright Mitchell Bard.