The Gates of Jerusalem constitute the entrance to walled Old Jerusalem. The gates built by ancient rulers are used today by visitors and locals as part of their daily endeavors.
Jerusalem Gates have their stories like any stone in this scared city and here are the descriptions and origins of the names.
Market inside Jaffa Gate in Old Jerusalem
In Hebrew “Shaar Yaffo”, it is the busiest of them all and used as access coming from West Jerusalem. Since the use of this gate is so popular, the municipality has created new roads and tunnels to help move the traffic.
Once inside you go back centuries and your amazing visit starts. This gate was also the famous scene of the English General Allenby's entrance in 1917.
In Hebrew Shaar Hadash, is the newest of all gates. This one was built in 1889 and gives direct access to the Christian Quarter.
The arched gate is decorated with crenelated stonework. It was built at the highest point of the present wall, at 790 meters above sea level.
Also called Nablus Gate in Hebrew is called Shaar Schem dates from the times of the Second Temple and is the most impressive of all gates. The access is from East Jerusalem. The Arabs remember this gate as the "Gate of the Column" because of the tall pillar that stood in this gate's plaza during the Roman and Byzantine period.
In Hebrew Shaar Haprachim meaning the Gate of the Flowers is on the northern side of the city and faces East Jerusalem. Herod's Gate is the Christian name of the gate. The current church is built on top of a ruined Crusader church and is called "the monastery of the lentils", based on another tradition claiming that it once had a soup kitchen feeding lentil soup to the poor.
St Stephen's Gate
It is called in Hebrew Shaar Haaraiot or Lions’ Gate. It is so called for the four lions that decorate the entrance because of a dream of the builder Suleiman. It faces the Mount of Olives and is the starting point of the Via Dolorosa. The name comes from the Christian believe that St Stephen died here. The legend says that the first Christian martyr was stoned outside this gate.
In Hebrew Shaar Harachamim or the Gate of Mercy is on the eastern wall of the Temple Mount and it’s the oldest of all gates. In ancient times it was called the Beautiful Gate. It was built approximately 640 AD by the last of the Byzantine rulers or the first of the Arab conquerors.
In Hebrew Shaar Haashpot (trash in Hebrew), is located on the southern side of the city, it provides direct access to the Jewish quarter and the Western Wall. There are several theories about the naming of this gate. One of them is the legend that when Omar ruled Jerusalem in 638 AD, trash was taken out through this gate. It is also called Gate of the Moors.
Zion Gate also called David's Gate looks towards Mount Zion
In Hebrew Shaar Zion is also known as David’s Gate looks towards Mt Zion and it is the access to Jewish and Armenian Quarters.
It is located on the southern side of the Old city. It is a vivid remainder of the Israeli battles in 1948 War of Independence. During the medieval period it was called the Gate of the Jewish Quarter.
The gates of Jerusalem are witnesses of the Jewish plight for this city. During more than two thousand years Jerusalem has been in the center of all Jewish hearts and prayers.
Copyright Tuchman Israel Guide
2015 - 2018