Damascus Gate

Damascus Gate (Arabic: باب العامود‎, translit. Bāb al-ʿĀmūd, Hebrew: שער שכם‬, Sha'ar Sh'khem) is one of the main entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem. In its current form, the gate was built in 1537 under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

circa 1537 CE

Damascus Gate is flanked by two towers, each equipped with machicolations. It is located at the edge of the Arab bazaar and marketplace in the Muslim Quarter. In contrast to the Jaffa Gate, where stairs rise towards the gate, in the Damascus Gate, the stairs descend towards the gate. Until 1967, a crenellated turret loomed over the gate, but it was damaged in the fighting during the Six-Day War, it was restored in August 2011.

circa 1537 CE

Damascus Gate in 1856, during the Ottoman Caliphate era, located along the northern wall, between Bab al-Zahira and Bab al-Jadid. It was one of eight gates rebuilt in the 10th century CE, Damascus Gate is the only one to have preserved the same name (i.e. Bab al-Amud) in modern times. The Crusaders called it St. Stephen's Gate (in Latin, Porta Sancti Stephani), highlighting its proximity to St. Stephen's Church. The Jews call it Sha’ar Schechem, or Nablus Gate.

circa 1537 CE

Interior of the western tower, both towers have pointed arches built with small stones in the Ottoman style.

circa 1537 CE

Interior

circa 1537 CE

The remains of an earlier gate can be seen, dating back to the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who rebuilt the city 135 CE. Originally built as a free-standing triumphal gate it had three arches, today only the eastern most smaller arch remains and leads to the Roman Plaza. The Roman gate remained in use during the Early Muslim and Crusader period, but several storerooms were added by the Crusaders outside the gate, so that access to the city became possible only by passing through those rooms.

circa 1537 CE

Hadrian's Roman gate circa 135 CE was built as a free-standing triumphal gate, and only sometime towards the end of the 3rd or the very beginning of the 4th century were there protective walls built around Jerusalem, connecting to the existing gate. In the square behind this gate stood a Roman victory column topped by a statue of Emperor. This historical detail is preserved in the current gate's Arabic name, Bab el-Amud (باب العامود), meaning "gate of the column".

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