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The Damascus Gate (also known as Shechem Gate or Nablus Gate) (Hebrew: שער שכם, Sha'ar Shkhem, Arabic: باب العامود, Bab-al-Amud, meaning Gate of the Column) is an important gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. The modern gate was built in 1542 by the Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent.
The original gate was presumably built in Second Temple times. The Romans built a new gate at the time of Hadrian, in the second century AD. In front of the gate stood a Roman victory column, shown on the Madaba Map, thus giving the gate its name in Arabic to this day, Bab el-Amud, The Column Gate. The column has never been found, but the Roman gate can be seen today, due to excavations made during the British mandate. This was the northern entrance gate to the city at the time of the Crusades.
The gate has 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. In 1972, right-wing activist, Jewish leader, Founder of the American Jewish Defense League and the Israeli Kach party, and future Knesset Member on the Kach list Rabbi Meir Kahane proposed that mezuzot be attached to the gate, to secure the Jewish claim to the gate. After repeated protests from Arab residents, the Israeli government refused to consider Kahane's proposal. Today, only three of the Old City's gates have mezuzot attached.
While the proper English name of the gate is "Damascus Gate", in Hebrew it is called Sha'ar Shechem, meaning "Shechem (Nablus) Gate". Israeli media therefore frequently refer to the gate as 'Shechem (Nablus) Gate' in English language publications as well. In either case, the name refers to a city north of Jerusalem, since the Damascus Gate is the main north-facing gate of the Old City.
- HD Virtual Tour of the Damascus Gate - December 2007
- Holy Land Photos:"Damascus Gate"
- A Beggar at Damascus Gate, by Yasmine Zahran
|Old City of Jerusalem|
|Gates</tr>||Damascus · Dung · Golden · Herod's · Jaffa · Lions' · New · Zion · Huldah|