The Lions' Gate in Jerusalem

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The lion's gate in Jerusalem is among the old city gates that have played a significant role in the history of the Holy City. It is called as Lions Gate since the gate features two stone lions on each side of its façade. If you are thinking about spending a vacation in Jerusalem then taking a tour at the gates of the old city walls should be a part of your itinerary. These historical gates will forever be part of the city’s past.

About The Lions Gate
According to legends, Sultan Suleiman is also known as “The Magnificent” dreamt of lions that were about to eat him greedily because he failed on the the defense of the city. When he woke up, he immediately ordered that the walls be constructed around the old city and that lions should be placed on the gates. However, some people believe that these are panthers and not lions and thought that the structure is an original part of the walls. 
The lion's gate in Jerusalem is also called as the “Bab Sitt Maryam” in Arabic which is named after Mary the mother of Christ. For Christians, the gate is called as the St. Stephen’s Gate after St. Stephen who is the first Christian martyr. 
The Lions Gate is very significant to the Jewish people since this is where processions are being held during Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday from the Mount of Olives. This is to commemorate the tradition of Jesus Christ welcoming to the city of Jerusalem. All throughout the Six Day War, the troops breached the gate so that they can get into the Old City. The noticeable feature of the gate is the turret that can be found on top of the gate. It is also called as “machicolation” which was used during that time to pour tar or boiling oil to attackers. 

Lions Gate - The Symbols
The most distinctive characteristic of the Lions Gate is the two lions that are embedded in its stone walls. However, many have said that these are not actually lions but panther or leopards. But no matter what it is, the important thing is the meaning behind it. The lion is a common symbol of Judah and Jerusalem but they were adopted by the Muslim Ottomans to honor Sultan Mameluk who is also referred to as “The Lion of Egypt” who defeated the Mongols and the Crusaders and the entire middle east.
There is also an inscription that can be found at the entrance of the gate to give credit to Sultan Suleiman who ordered the building of the Lions Gate. The inscription on the gate revealed that it was built in 945 AD. Another symbol that can be found on the gate is the “Magen – David” which is Jewish symbol that can be found in various sections of the gate. On your visit to Jerusalem, take time to look for these symbols and go back at the ancient city once more. 

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