Damascus Gate, Jerusalem

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Damascus Gate, Jerusalem

This viewpoint taken from the top of the Damascus Gate is perhaps one of the most ancient and historical viewpoints within the Old City. Located on the border between the Christian and Muslim quarters, the Damascus Gate remains the main entrance to the Old City and holy sites of Jerusalem to this day.

The Damascus Gate, also known as Nablus Gate, was built over an ancient triumphal arch, which stood on the northern border of Jerusalem during the Roman period, when the city was named Aelia Capitolina. The Roman gate was built by order of Emperor Hadrian in the second century AD, probably on the ruins of a gate from the Second Temple. It served at the time as the main entrance to Jerusalem and led to the road to Nabuls and Damascus. As can be seen by the ancient and earliest known map of Jerusalem, the Madaba Map, a large Roman pillar once stood at the foot of the gate honoring Emperor Hadrian. This is the source of the Arabic name of the gate, Bab Al-Amud, which means “Gate of the Column”. The gate that stands today was built in 1537 under the Ottoman Empire rule of the Holy Land. The broad plaza which lies outside of the gate serves as a place for commerce and meeting ensuring that Damascus Gate keeping its vitality alive.

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