Damascus Gate is one of the main entrances to the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located in the wall on the city's northwest side where the highway leads out to Nablus, and from there, in times past, to the capital of Syria, Damascus.

In its current form, the gate was built in 1537 under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Beneath the current gate, the remains of an earlier gate can be seen, dating back to at least the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century CE. In front of this gate stood a Roman victory column topped with the Emperor Hadrian's image, as depicted on the 6th century Madaba Map. On the lintel to the 2nd century gate, under which one can pass today, is inscribed the city's name under Roman rule, Aelia Capitolina. Hadrian had significantly expanded the gate which served as the main entrance to the city from at least as early as the 1st century CE during the rule of Agrippa I. Josephus mentions in his Antiquities of the Jews that the third and outer wall of Jerusalem's Old City had been originally built by Agrippa I, in c. 37-41 CE.

One of eight gates remade in the 10th century, Damascus Gate is the only one to have preserved the same name in modern times. The Crusaders called it St. Stephen's Gate, highlighting its proximity to the site of martyrdom of Saint Stephen, marked since the time of Empress Eudocia by a church and monastery. Several phases of construction work on the gate took place the early Ayyubid period (1183-1192) and both early 12th century and later 13th century Crusader rule over Jerusalem.

Damascus Gate is flanked by two towers, each equipped with machicolations. It is located at the edge of the Arab bazaar and marketplace in the Arab Quarter. In contrast to the Jaffa Gate, where stairs rise towards the gate, in the Damascus Gate, the stairs descend towards the gate. Until 1967, a crenellated turret loomed over the gate, but it was damaged in the fighting that took place in and around the Old City during the Six-Day War. In August 2011, Israel restored the turret, including its arrowslit, with the help of pictures from the early twentieth century when the British Empire controlled Jerusalem. Eleven anchors fasten the restored turret to the wall, and four stone slabs combine to form the crenellated top.

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Founded: 100-200 CE
Category: Castles and fortifications in Israel

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

A. Saad (20 months ago)
fantastic place to be. nice place to sit afternoon and enjoy thousands of years of history.
Ak Khan (20 months ago)
Main gateway into the old city Arab quarter. Most tours pickup and drop-off on the adjacent main road
Munir Nuseibah (20 months ago)
Damascus gate is the most glorious of all gates of Jerusalem's old city. It is always lively during the day with authentic traditional street vendors and older Palestinian farmers and merchants selling seasonal local vegetables and fruits. Any visitor to Jerusalem should experience this important historic site and enjoy why the rest of the old city offers.
Burhan Abdullah (21 months ago)
What an amazing historical place!!! I recommend you to grab a cup of coffee and sit on the stairs to better adjust the beauty of this place ;)
Boudhayan Bandyopadhyay (21 months ago)
One of the main entrance to old city of Jerusalem. You can get down to Damascus gate station and within two minutes you can arrive that place. At this place you can feel the ambience of old city of Jerusalem.
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