Jerusalem - Damascus Gate Postcard
Damascus Gate, located in the northwest side of the Old City of Jerusalem's wall, is the main entrance to the city. In times past it led to Damascus, the capital of Syria, Damascus. In Hebrew it is known as Sha'ar Shkhem (שער שכם), meaning Shechem Gate. In its current form, the gate was built in 1537 under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Underneath, remains of a gate dating to the time of the Roman rule of Hadrian in the 2nd century AD have been discovered and excavated. In front of this gate stood a Roman victory column topped with the Emperor Hadrian's image, as depicted on the 6th century Madaba Map. This historical detail is preserved in gate's Arabic name, Bab el-Amud, meaning "gate of the column". On the lintel to the 2nd century gate, under which one can pass today, is inscribed the city's name under Roman rule, Aelia Capitolina. Hadrian had significantly expanded the gate which served as the main entrance to the city from at least as early as the 1st century BC during the rule of Agrippa. Damascus Gate is flanked by two towers, each equipped with machicolations. It is located at the edge of the Arab bazaar and marketplace. In contrast to the Jaffa Gate, where stairs rise towards the gate, in the Damascus Gate, the stairs descend towards the gate. Until 1967, a crenellated turret loomed over the gate, but it was damaged in the fighting that took place in and around the Old City during the Six-Day War. In August 2011, Israel restored the turret, including its arrowslit, with the help of pictures from the early twentieth century when the British Empire controlled Jerusalem. Eleven anchors fasten the restored turret to the wall, and four stone slabs combine to form the crenellated top.