Roman Plaza (Damascus Gate Museum)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Roman Plaza at the Damascus Gate – the remains of Aelia Capitolina Gate and a floor paved with original stones from Emperor Hadrian’s period (133 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, below the modern Damascus Gate.


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. The gate holds religious Hellenistic meanings as well: the area of the city was sacred. The titles of the Roman town also appear on coins that defined it as “an autonomous city, holy city, and sanctuary city.”

Archaeological Exhibition

circa 135 CE

The permanent exhibition displayed here: the history of Nablus Gate in maps, photographs, and illustrations. Two watchtowers constructed from stones of the Second Temple era, one of which is open for the public and connects to the wall tour around the Old City, enabling walking on the promenade. “Guest” exhibitions sometimes take place as well at the Square.

Origina of the Arabic Name "Bab al-Amud"

circa 135 CE

Previously, a 72-foot-high pillar stood in the center of the plaza, adorned by a statue of Hadrian. The pole was declared as point zero of the area, serving as a measurement point of the distances to other cities in Israel. This pillar is the origin of the Arabic name of the gate, "Bab al-'Amud", the pillar’s gate. It is visible on the Byzantine Madba map. Two main streets of the city branched from the plaza: The Western and Eastern Cardo. Above the left gate, Roman remains from the 2nd century CE, and the one on the right entry is still underground.

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