Gate of the Cotton Merchants

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The Cotton Merchants' Gate (باب القطانين) is an early 14th century CE Mamluk era gate to the Haram as-Sharif (Temple Mount). It was built by the then ruler of Damascus, Tankiz under the orders of Sultan Ibn Qalawun. It is located nearly in the middle of the Western Wall between the Iron Gate to the north and the Ablutions Gate to the south. It is also known as the Caesarea gate (Bab al-Qaysariya), literally meaning the gate of the Caesar.

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The monumental gate, called Bab al-Qattanin in Arabic, that sits on the western border of the precinct of al-Haram al-Sharif ("The Noble Sacred Enclosure") leads to the splendid street market of Suq al-Qattanin "Market of the Cotton Merchants".

This ornate gate, built by the emir Tankiz in 1336 (737 Hijri), was but one of his many contributions to the beautification of Jerusalem; see the note on Suq el-Qattanin in the section MAMLUK BUILDINGS (p. 43). He is also responsible for the covered portico stretching out on both sides of the gate.

More recently it was renovated in 1927 CE (1345 Hijri) by the Supreme Islamic Council.

Since this site is the closest a person can get to the Foundation Stone without setting foot on the mount itself, the gate was a popular place of prayer for Jews during the 19th century CE.


circa 1336 CE

The eastern facade, the side that faces the interior of the Haram as-Sharif, is topped with a semi-circular gable and muqarnas. The portal is about nine steps lower than the inner courtyard of the Haram as-Sharif. The keystone of the semi-circular domed top is black in color, and the rest of the dome contains five rows of muqarnas. The door is four meters high and two and a half meters wide topped with a straight lintel.


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