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Jaffa Gate

Jaffa Gate

Universal Jaffa Gate.

Jaffa Gate is located in the western part of the Old City of Jerusalem. The location provided them with popularity: this is the busiest of all the gates. There are several reasons for this.

It provides a convenient passage to both the Christian and Armenian quarters. Jaffa Gate is located at the crossroads of the southern road to Bethlehem and Hebron, and west to Jaffa. The two most important transport arteries of Jerusalem. Here is the “zero kilometer”. The starting point of the kilometer of all the roads of the Country. In the wall near the gate there is a breach for the passage of vehicles.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is 350 meters from the Jaffa Gate. Nearby it you can find city transport, taxi rank, large underground parking, tourist information office, post office, currency exchange and shopping center.

Not surprisingly, the Jaffa Gate looks friendly and attracts crowds of visitors to the Holy City. It always sounds multilingual speech guides and tourists. And right behind them on the David street there are many shops. That sells everything: food, souvenirs, jewelry, religious symbols.

Like any ancient gate, Jaffa has several other names.

  • The Gate of David or in Arabic Bab Mihrab Daud. Meaning the place where David prayed.
  • The Hebron Gate is the birthplace of the forefather Abraham.
  • Bab al-Khalil – Gate of a friend or lover (Lord).

Design and Construction.

The gate height is about 12 m. The opening for the passage is 6 m. The passage itself is in the shape of the letter D. Perhaps in order to bring down the attack rate of the forces besieging the city. For the builder of the gate it was very important.

The Jaffa Gate doesn’t have a luxurious view as the Golden or Damascus Gates. Inside the passageway there are just stone ceiling arches and bare walls. At the exit from the city you can see an inscription in Arabic script. Where the names of Allah and Suleiman the Magnificent are mentioned. Suleiman was the builder of the “latest version” of the walls of the Old City and its gates.

Origin.

Probably no less turbulent life than now was at the Jaffa Gate and in 1538. When it had just been built by Sultan Suleiman I Kanun. The ruler of the Ottoman Empire, who built the walls around the Old City. Even then, the Jaffa Gates were the only ones that “looked” strictly to the west, to the port of Jaffa and the Mediterranean Sea.

The wall a little to the right of the gate was dismantled at the behest of the Ottoman authorities on the occasion of the visit of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. There are two reasons.

  1. The first is about the Kaiser’s vanity and stupidity. Having learned the legend that the earthly ruler who passes the Jaffa Gate without fail on a white horse will receive power over Jerusalem, Wilhelm decided to do just that. And the Turks broke the wall to prevent this — the Kaiser calmly drove through the breach, believing that this was the Jaffa Gate. But the gate is absolutely close, the Kaiser was not blind at all – the conclusion about his mental abilities suggests itself.
  2. The second version is more neutral – the Kaiser carriage did not pass through the gate. So as not to take it apart, a hole was made into which it could pass entirely.

In 1917 English General Edmund Allenby, when the power of the Ottoman Empire over Jerusalem ended, passed through the gates on foot. Expressing reverence for the sanctity of this place, not to be like the Kaiser.

Nowadays.

After the War of Independence of Israel in 1947-1949, the Jaffa Gate was closed. Since Israel could not win them, and did not open until the Six Day War of 1967.

In the Jaffa Gate visible pieces of bullets caught in stone during the War of Independence. When the Israeli Department of Antiquities in 2010 brought the Jaffa Gate in order (according to the program of restoration of the walls of the Old City), these bullets were intentionally left in stone. They are the same part of the gate history as the ancient Arabic inscription above them.

Vanished buildings.

In 1900, the Ottoman Empire celebrated the anniversary of the rule of its next sultan and started building watchtowers in all subordinate cities. This fate did not pass and the Jaffa Gate – but it turned out very awkward. Jerusalem under the rule of the Turks impoverished so terribly that the city did not have enough finance for the turret. Finance collected eight years. So the four-meter tower appeared above the gate only in 1908.

In 1912, the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design designed and installed a wooden pavilion with a toothed turret at the Jaffa Gate for pilgrims, tourists and other passers-by plying through the Jaffa Gate to and from the Old City.

Near the pavilion there was an indoor drinking water fountain built by the Turks.

All the buildings mentioned were demolished during the British Mandate as spoiling the historic view of the Jaffa Gate.

Outside the Jaffa Gate.

If you enter the Jaffa Gate, you will get to a not too large area. On the left side – the Christian quarter, on the right – Armenian. On the right side of the square you will see the David Citadel. Do not be surprised that the tower looks like a minaret – this is it. The citadel was built in the II. BC. to strengthen the defense of the Holy City, has since been rebuilt by all who ruled the City. The minaret appeared in 1655

Now it is the Museum of the History of Jerusalem, where exhibits from the time of the Hasmonean dynasty are collected. The expositions are located both in the premises of David Citadel and in the courtyard.

Also there are various shows, performances and other social events.

Renovation.

In March 2017, an investment coin issue program was launched in Israel, dedicated to the gates of old Jerusalem. On the first of the coins of this series on the obverse are the Jaffa Gate and the Tower of David. The author of the artistic solution of the Jaffa Gate coin is Zvika Roitman.

Jaffa Gate

Travel Tips

You have the opportunity to make a tour of the top of the walls of the Old City, the entrance is near the Jaffa Gate. There are two routes: the south – to the Garbage Gate and the north – to Damascus. These are two separate tickets. From the walls you get excellent photos of the landscapes of the Old City.

There are sights in every quarter of the Old Town, and it’s impossible to get around them all in a day. It is better to determine in advance the route of walking.
If this is your first time in Jerusalem, it’s better not to walk alone in the Old City, you can get lost in the many alleys. It is not safe to wander at night – especially in the Muslim quarter.

Opening hours.

  • Monday-Friday from 08:30 to 17:00.
  • On Saturdays it is open from 08:30 to 14:00.

How to get yourself.

  • By car: you need to enter Jerusalem along highway 1 and turn right onto Herzl Avenue. Turn right again at the second traffic light – on your left you should zip the Eged car fleet – and go to Hillel street. Continue on foot.
  • To the Tower of David go from the Central Bus Station of Jerusalem buses number number 20, 60.
  • Use Egged buses to get Jaffa Gate from Tel Aviv.

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