Jerusalem Travel Blog› entry 9 of 15 › view all entries
November 14th, 2005 – by: mellemel8
Traditionally, the Old City has been divided into four quarters, although the current designations were introduced only in the 19th century. Today, the Old City is roughly divided into the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter.
The Old City was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981.
During the era of the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, there were four gates to the Old City, one on each side. The current walls, built by Suleiman the Magnificent, have a total of eleven gates, but only seven are open. Until 1887, each gate was closed before sunset and opened at sunrise. As indicated by the chart below, these gates have been known by a variety of names used in different historic periods and by different community groups.
* Jaffa Gate
Next to Jaffa Gate is a breach in the wall that was opened to accommodate the entourage of the German emperor, Wilhelm II, in 1898. The ancient Roman gates (one large gate flanked by a small gate on each side) are visible below street level at the Damascus Gate.
* Lions' Gate
Legend has it that Suleiman dreamed he would be eaten by lions if he did not build the Old City walls. He ordered two lions carved above one of the gates to commemorate this dream. These lions are still visible today.
* New Gate
The New Gate dates from 1889, when the French Catholic clergy asked the sultan, Abdul Hamid II, to open the wall opposite the Notre Dame convent to facilitate access to the Christian Quarter. For 19 years, when east and west Jerusalem were divided, the New Gate was blocked up and the Jordanians built a military outpost above it.
* Huldah Gates
Visible from the Southern Wall excavations is a series of blocked gates called the Huldah Gates. Dating from the Herodian period, these gates (single, double and triple) were used by the throngs of pilgrims visiting the Second Temple. They were inside the city walls until Crusader times. The gates led to a series of tunnels beneath the Temple Mount. One gate was used to enter the Temple compound and the other to exit it. Today the Temple Mount is also accessible from gates inside the Old City, such as Bab el-Kattanin.
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