Gates of Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s Old City walls, built in the early 16th century by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, have eight gates. All but one (the Gate of Mercy) still serve Jerusalemites and visitors streaming to its markets, and sacred and historic sites. All together, the Old City walls contain 43 surveillance towers and 11 gates, seven of which are presently open.


During different periods, the city walls followed different outlines and had a varying number of gates.

During the era of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem for instance, Jerusalem had four gates, one on each side. The current walls were built by Suleiman the Magnificent, who provided them with six gates; several older gates, which had been walled up before the arrival of the Ottomans, were left as they were.

List of Old City Gates

circa 1300 CE

Golden Gate
The Golden Gate, Gate of Mercy (باب الرحمة) is the only eastern gate of the Temple Mount is one of only two that used to offer access into the city from that side. In Arabic, it is known as Bab al-Dhahabi also written Bab al-Zahabi, meaning "Golden Gate"; another Arabic name is the Gate of Eternal Life. The gate is located in the northern third of the Temple Mount's eastern wall. Similar to Christians, Muslims generally believe this was the gate through which Jesus as Messiah, entered Jerusalem.

circa 1537 CE

Damascus Gate
The Damascus Gate is located at the edge of the Arab bazaar and marketplace in the Muslim Quarter. In its current form, the gate was built in 1537 under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. 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 modern Damascus Gate replaced an earlier entrance, probably the Fish Gate, to the old city of Jerusalem.

circa 710 BCE

Jaffa Gate
The Jaffa Gate, Bab al-Khalil, "Hebron Gate"; also Arabic, Bab Mihrab Dawud, "Gate of David's Chamber"; Crusader name: "David's Gate") is a stone portal in the historic walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is one of seven main open gates in Jerusalem's Old City walls. It was inaugurated in 1538 as part of the rebuilding of the Old City walls by Suleiman the Magnificent. The name Jaffa Gate is currently used for both the historical Ottoman gate from 1538, and for the wide gap in the city wall adjacent to it to the south.

circa 710 BCE

Zion Gate
The Zion Gate built in July 1540, west of the location of the medieval gate, which was a direct continuation of the Street of the Jews (also known the Cardo). Six sentry towers were erected in the southern segment of the wall, four of them situated in the Mount Zion section. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, shops were built along the length of the southern wall which were torn down during the British Mandate.

circa 710 BCE

Dung Gate
The Dung Gate known in Arabic historically as the Moroccan or Mughrabi Gate (Arabic: باب المغاربة‎) and since medieval times also known as Silwan Gate, is one of the gates in the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Situated near the southeast corner of the Old City, it was built in the 16th century. Directly behind the gate lies the entrance to the Western Wall Plaza. Dung Gate is a main passage for vehicles coming out of the Old City and for buses headed to the Western Wall.

circa 710 BCE

Lions' Gate
The Lions' Gate, Arabic: باب الأسباط‎, also St. Stephen's Gate or Sheep Gate) is located in the eastern wall of Jerusalem, adjacent to the al-Ghazali square. It is one of seven open Gates in Jerusalem's Old City Walls. Near the gate’s crest are four figures of leopards, often mistaken for lions, two on the left and two on the right. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century the Jews called it the Lions' Gate after the two pairs of flanking carved lions (actually leopards) on its facade- the symbol of the Mamluk sultan Baybars, who conquered Palestine in 1260 CE.

circa 710 BCE

Herod's Gate
The Herod's Gate, (Arabic: باب الزاهرة‎, Bab az-Zahra Flowers Gate) is a gate in the northern walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. It connects the Muslim Quarter inside of the old city to the eponymic Palestinian neighbourhood of Bab az-Zahra, situated just outside. This modest gate, which opens from a wall tower, is one of the newest gates of Jerusalem. At the time when Suleiman the Magnificent built the city walls in the 1530s, a small wicket gate was situated in the eastern, lateral wall of the tower.

circa 710 BCE

New Gate
The New Gate or Bab es Sultan Abd ul Hamid built in 1889 to provide direct access between the Christian Quarter and the new neighborhoods then going up outside the walls. The arched gate is decorated with crenelated stonework. The New Gate was the name used by the Ottoman administration. t was also known as Bab es Sultan Abd ul Hamid by the Arab workforce for the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II who allowed the building. It should not be confused with the New Gate of the Second Temple complex mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah (26:10; 36:10).

circa 710 BCE

Tanners' Gates
The Tanners' Gate is located in the Old City's southern wall, near the Dung Gate. It is the second oldest entrance into the Old City, a pedestrian gate probably built in the 12th Century by the Crusaders near a cattle market (hence the name). Suleiman the Magnificant filled in Tanners' Gate when he built the present-day Old City walls, gates and towers. The gate was discovered during post-1967 archeological investigations, partially reconstructed and interpreted as part of the Beth Shalom Garden.

See Also