Warren's Gate

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Warren's Gate, first described by the nineteenth century surveyor Charles Warren, is an ancient entrance into the Temple platform in Jerusalem which lies about 150 feet (46 m) into the Western Wall Tunnel. In the Second Temple period, the gate led to a tunnel and staircase onto the Haram al-Sharif. After the Rashidun Caliphate conquest of Jerusalem from the Byzantines, Jews were allowed to pray inside the tunnel. The synagogue was destroyed in the First Crusade in the Siege of Jerusalem in 1099. The tunnel then became a water cistern, thus its name Cistern 30.


The area is surrounded by a vaulted 18-foot (5.5 meters) 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.

Archaeological Structure


The Warren's Gate, located some 40 meters (120 feet), north of the Wilson's Arch and inside the lower portion of the Western Wall (underground access today is through the Western Wall Tunnel). This gate was one of the four gates mentioned by Josephus that were entrances from the western retaining wall of the Second Temple. It received its name from the nineteenth century British explorer Charles Warren whose team first discovered it, but its located was lost and only rediscovered in the early 1980s.


The arch of the gate is from the Muslim period, but its gatepost as well as the interior is all herodian. This was the entrance nearest to the Court of the Priests and the Temple Court and therefore probably served the priests in bringing wood, sacriices, and other materials to the temple. This gate was opened shortly after it was rediscovered by Jewish rabbis who were searching for the ark of the covenant.

See Also