Barclay's Gate

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The "Barclay’s Gate" is the modern name of a Second Temple era gate of the Temple Mount, located in the Western Wall. The Barclay's Gate, which lies under the Moroccans' Gate (also called the Moor's Gate), is one of the Temple Mount's original gates from the Herodian construction. Its Arabic name is Bab an-Nabi, "Gate of the Prophet [Muhammad]" (see Le Strange, Palestine Under the Moslems p. 189) - not to be confused with the Triple Southern Gate, which has the same Arabic name. It is a closed gate from the time of second temple in the Western Wall of Haram al-Sharif.


The old gateway (identify), now known as "Barclay's gateway", is beyond any doubt one of those by which the temple precincts were entered during the time of Herod the Great. The fine passage still exists, partly as a mosque, partly as a cistern.

The gate essentially holds dual identity, from outside the Temple Mount walls it's known as Barclay’s Gate or possiblly Herodian Coponius Gate, from within the Temple Mount it's known as Masjid al-Buraq.

After the Six-Day War, the Israel Religious Affairs Ministry and Prof. Benjamin Mazar, who was at the time conducting the dig outside the southern wall of the Temple Mount, planned to uncover this gate, but they were prevented from doing so by both Jewish and Muslim religious leaders.



al-Buraq Mosque, Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount)

James Turner Barclay discovered it from its inner side, within the Temple Mount, in 1852 CE. This large stone (which looks like a square) is itself about 21 feet long, 6.5 feet wide and weighs 50 tons.

Barclay's Gate is named after James Turner Barclay who was a Christian missionary in Jerusalem in the mid-19th century, and who discovered the main structure of the gate buried underground within the Temple Mount.


circa 10 CE

Today only part of the lintel and the filled up doorway is visible, from the women's section of Western Wall Plaza, directly beneath the modern day Moroccans' Gate. The remaining part of the lintel can be seen from the adjacent women's room.

circa 710 CE

al-Buraq Mosque, Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount)

The modern day “al-Buraq” Mosque is built into the vaulted internal gate passage of Barclay’s Gate. The gate (arched roof to the right background) was continously in use until the end of the 10th century (some time after 985 CE) when it was blocked with smaller stones and the internal gate room was transformed into a mosque dedicated to Buraq and a cistern. Today the room is closed and entrance to it is prohibited without the approval of the Waqf.

According to Barclay's and his followers' archeological researches, the gate measures 5.06 metres in width and 8.80 metres in height of the doorway, which provides insight into the dimensions of the mosque. The earlist mention in modern times about this mosque was by Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi in 1689 CE. The lintel of Barclay's gate can be seen to the right below the arch. This arch was the roof to one of the four large second temple era gates, mentioned by Josephus.

Identification with the Coponius Gate

circa 710 CE

Barclay’s Gate

Several researchers identified the Barclay’s Gate as one of the Second Temple period gates, possibly the Coponius (also spelled as Kiponus) Gate (identify), which is mentioned in Jewish and Christian sources of the period. It is mentioned as the western gate of the outer court in the Mishnah (Middot 3:1)

It is probable that the Kiponus Gate was named after Coponius (6-9 CE), a Roman procurator, thus one of the four gates described by Josephus.

circa 710 CE

Barclay’s Gate

Phases of the Temple Mount's expansions over time, with Barclay’s Gate (illustration) next (north) to the Robinson's Arch in the western wall. For further information about the gate, see: J.T.Barclay, The City of the Great King...", Philadelphia, 1958, page 281. See the reconstruction of the original size of the gate on page 28 of K. and L. Ritmeyer, "Reconstructing Herod's Temple Mount in Jerusalem".


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