Jaffa Gate one of eight gates in Jerusalem's Old City walls.
In Hebrew, Sha'ar Yafo, Arabic Bab el-Khalil, also David's Gate (Hebrew: Sha'ar David). Jaffa Gate was always one of the most important portals, along with Damascus Gate. It marked the beginning of the routes to Jaffa and to Hebron, and therefore the Arabs also call it Hebron Gate (Bab al-Khalil. Al-Khalil, ''the friend'', is the appellation in Arabic for Abraham, the ''friend of God'', whose city was Hebron). In the past the gate was also known as Bethlehem Gate, and in the Crusader period as David's Gate because of its proximity to the Tower of David.
Tour of Jerusalem from the Jaffa Gate to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the company of Zvi our tour guide describing sights along the way.
Jaffa Gate is the main western entrance to the Old City. In the gate, we can see the heavy doors that were closed every day at sunset until the 1870's. Below the arch of the entrance is an inscription mentioning by name ''Suleiman the Magnificent'', the builder of the wall. The construction of the wall, which continued from 1535/6 to 1541, was planned and supervised by Suleiman's chief architect, Sinan Pasha. The 3.8km-long wall included dozens of towers, not all of them completed, hundreds of loopholes, seventeen battlements and a plethora of decorations in geometric and floral patterns.
Many sections of the wall were built in proximity to or on top of remains of earlier walls, one of which can be seen if we look down at the archaeological excavations next to the road outside Jaffa Gate.
Many of the wall's stones were taken from the ruins of structures from various periods, resulting in an interesting mosaic of masonry of different shapes, sizes, and colors. The stones in the upper part of the wall are generally uniform and were hewn especially for this purpose.
Why did Suleiman decide to build a wall in Jerusalem, after the city's wall had laid in ruins during the preceding Mamluk period? Was this a demonstrative act to express the importance of the city for its new conquerors? Or was the purpose of this narrow and not especially strong wall to repel nomads who were likely to pose a threat to the security of the inhabitants? Was it possibly erected to quell the Ottomans' fears of another Crusade by an alliance of countries in Catholic Europe urged on by the Pope? We are unable to provide an unequivocal answer. In any event, Jerusalem gained a landmark which constitutes an important element of its image.
* Courtesy of Yad Ben Zvi
''Jerusalem, a walk through time''
The Jaffa Gate Jerusalem
Jaffa Gate (Bab Al-Khalil) is very much a tourist gate. The shops around the gate are mainly for tourists.
Entering the square near Jaffa Gate, David Street leads eastward. A narrow and generally thronged market street, to the Western ("Wailling") Wall and Temple Area.
THE JAFFA GATE, so called because it open onto the Jaffa Road, is called in Arabic Bab el Khalil, or the gate of the friend, since it also opens onto the road to Hebron, and the Arabic name for the latter is EL Khalil (from the fact that it was the home of Abraham, the "friend" of God).
The Jaffa Gate proper is the portal to the north of the large breach through which the road now runs over the old Citadel moad.
This part of the moat was deliberately filled in and the roadway built in honour of the visit of Kaiser Wihelm in 1898; there was, therefore, a low wall across the trench separating the Citadel from the gate tower. Entering Jaffa Gate we come into an open square; on its southern side is EL Kala'a, or the Citadel, one part of which has for many years been mistakenly called Tower of David.
The Jaffa Gate Jerusalem | Author Herwig Reidlinger
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