Gates of the Temple Mount

The Temple Mount, known in Arabic as the Haram as-Sharif, has 15 gates leading in to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, ten of which are open while the remaining five are currently closed.

Overview

The keys of all the gates, except the Moroccans' Gate are with the Islamic Waqf Directorate, but they are opened only with the permission of the Israeli police who control access to al-Aqsa Mosque complex.

The gates are listed here in anti-clockwise sequence, starting from the north-eastern corner of Masjid al-Aqsa compound.

Open Gates

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Gate of the Tribes
The Gate of the Tribes (باب الأسباط‎), is located at the north-eastern corner of the Temple Mount. The Tribes Gate was built in 1213 CE (610 Hj.), and is about four meters high arched gate located on the Northeast side of the al-Aqsa Mosque. It was renovated several times; however, the current door was renovated by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. This gate is also called “Virgin Mary’s Gate” because of its close location to Saint Hannah Church where Christians believe Virgin Mary was born.

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Gate of Remission
The Gate of Remission (باب حطة) is one of the oldest gates inside Masjid al-Aqsa; it is located in the Mosque’s northern corridor between the Gate of the Tribes and the Gate of Darkness. The accurate year in which the gate was built remains unknown; however, it was renovated during the Ayyubid and Ottoman eras. It is a simple gate topped with stone hangers that were used to carry fire lamps in the past. This gate leads to the as-Sadiyah Quarter in the Old City, and it is one of three doors in al-Aqsa the Israeli Security Forces allow to remain open for the Dawn, Maghrib, and Isha prayers.

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Gate of King Faisal
The Gate of King Faisal (باب الملك فيصل), or the Gate of Darkness (باب العتم) is located in Masjid al-Aqsa’s northern part; it was last renovated in 1213 CE (610 Hj.) by the Ayyubid King al-Moatham Sharf ad-Din Issa. The gate is known by a variety of names such as the Gate of Darkness, the Gate of Shah Faisal in tribute to the Hashemite King Faisal’s visit to al-Aqsa Mosque in 1930, and the Honor of the Prophets after the Honor of the Prophets Quarter to which the gate leads, and the Duwaidaryah Gate because of its close location to al-Duwaidaryah School.

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Gate of Bani Ghanim
The Gate of Bani Ghanim (باب بني غوانيمة), as seen from within the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount). The Gate is located in the northwest part of al-Aqsa Mosque and was last renovated in 1308 CE (707 Hj.). It is a relatively small gate named after the Old City’s Bani Ghanim Quarter to which it leads. In the past, the Gate was called al-Khalil (Hebron) Gate after Prophet Ibrahim al-Khalil. The Islamic Waqf Directorate has renovated this gate after an Israeli extremist burnt it in 1998.

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Council Gate
The Bab al-Naazir (باب الناظر) or the Council Gate or the inspector's gate is located on the western flank of Haram al-Sharif. The Inspector’s Gate is located in al-Aqsa Mosque’s western corridor to the south of Bani Ghanim’s Gate. It was renovated in 1203 CE (600 Hj.) by King Moathem Sharaf ad-Din. It is a huge gate with a 4.5 meter high entrance. The gate takes its name after the job of the Inspector of the two Noble Mosques (al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Ibrahimi Mosque) during the Mamluk Era.

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Iron Gate
The Bab ul-Hadid (باب الحديد) as seen from inside the Haram al-Sharif, it is located directly underneath the building known as Madarasa al-Uthmani. The Iron Gate is located in the western corridor of AlAqsa Mosque between the Inspector’s Gate and the Cotton Merchants’ Gate; it was last renovated in 1354-1357 CE (755-758 Hj.). It is also called Aragun’s Gate after its renovator and founder of the Araguniyah School Prince Aragun al-Kamili.

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Gate of the Cotton Merchants
The Cotton Merchants’ Gate (باب القطانين) was built by Mamluk Sultan Mohammad bin Qaloun in 1336 CE (737 Hj.), in the western part of al-Aqsa Mosque between the Iron Gate and the Ablution Gate. The gate leads to the Cotton Market in the Old City of Jerusalem, from where it derives its name. This gate is considered to be one of al-Aqsa Mosque’s most beautiful gates with decorations of Islamic motif and stalactites covering its entrance.

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Ablution Gate
The Bab al-Mutahara (باب المطهرة) is situated a few meters to the south of Bab ul-Qattanin. This gate is located in the western corridor of Masjid al-Aqsa complex near the Cotton Merchants’ Gate which is close to the Dome of the Rock. It is the only gate of al-Aqsa that does not lead to one of the Old City’s quarters, but to an ablution area built by the Ayoubi Sultan al-Adel Abu Bakr Ayoub instead. The gate and the ablution were last renovated in 1267 CE (666 Hj.).

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Chain Gate
The Gate of the Chain (باب السلسلة) which was built during the Ayoubi era is one of al-Aqsa Mosque’s main entrances; it is located in the southern part of Temple Mount’s western wall. The gate is relatively high and topped with ornamented bricks. The Ayoubis also renovated it in 1200 CE (600 Hj.). It has a double wooden door with a small opening that allows a single person to pass through when the double door is closed.

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Moroccans' Gate
The Moroccans' Gate (باب المغاربة), also known as the "Moors' Gate", is located in Masjid al-Aqsa western wall (al-Buraq Wall). It was last renovated in 1313 CE (713 Hj.). The gate leads to the Moroccan Quarter that was demolished by the Israeli Occupation Forces in 1967 to build the Wailing Wall Plaza in order to create a larger space for Jews to pray in front of Al-Buraq Wall, and to the left is Madarasa al-Fakhar. The keys for the Moroccan’s Gate are with the Israeli authorities since they occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 CE.

Closed or Lost Gates

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Golden Gate
The Golden Gate (باب الرحمة) is an ancient historical door carved inside al-Aqsa’s eastern wall. It consists of two gates, one to the south (al-Rahmah - Mercy) and one to the north (al-Tawbah - Repentance). The Mercy Gate was named after the Mercy Graveyard which is located in front of it and where Prophet Mohammad’s companions ash-Shadad bin Aws and Obada bin As-Samet are buried.

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Barclay's Gate
Today known as Barclay’s Gate, also known as the Old Hittah Gate (باب حطة القديم), is located in the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. It was identified by Dr. James Barclay. Some scholars also identify this gate as the Kiponus gate, a temple gate which was referenced in the 2nd C Mishna. The width of this gate is 5.6 meters and its height today mostly below the ground, is estimated at 11.2 meters.

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Warren's Gate
The Warren's Gate, the arch in the wall to the right is the closed gate discovered by Charles Warren. The area is surrounded by a vaulted 18-foot (5.5 m) tunnel, probably built by the Crusaders. Rabbi Yehuda Getz, the late official Rabbi of the Western Wall, believed that the Gate represented the point west of the Wall closest to the Holy of Holies. He therefore established a small synagogue at the location.

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Shushan Gate
The Shushan Gate, bore an engraving of Shushan, the capital of the Persian Empire when it was rebuilt the returning Jews from Babylon. The engraving commemorated the miracle of Purim4 and reminded the Jewish People from whence they came and to remain loyal to their Persian benefactors. Because Persia was east of the Holy Land, the Eastern Temple Gateway was chosen as the site for this memorial engraving.

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Funerals Gate
The Funerals’ Gate (باب الجنائز) is one of al-Aqsa’s hidden gates, located on its eastern wall. Its name stems from the fact that it was used by Muslims restrictedly to carry out funerals to al-Rahma (Mercy) Graveyard. Today, the gate is permanently closed.

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Single Gate
This single gate (الباب المفرد), originally installed by crusaders, was rebuilt by the Fatimid Caliph Ath-Thaher L’Izaz Din Allah in 1034 CE (425 Hj.). It is located on the southern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque to the east of the Triple Gate and is permanently closed. Charles Wilson mentions, "Over the doorway of the postern there is a sort of lintel, but there are no regular jambs, and the whole has more the appearance of a hole broken through the masonry and afterwards roughly filled up".

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Hulda Gates
The Huldah Gates were a set of gates leading into the Jerusalem Temple compound in the Hasmonean period and were named as such in the Mishnah. The term is used for the remains of two later sets of gates, the Triple Gate and the Double Gate, known together as the Huldah Gates, built as part of the much extended Herodian Temple Mount, situated in Jerusalem's Old City.

See Also

References

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