باب العامود

( Damascus Gate )

The Damascus Gate is one of the main Gates of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located in the wall on the city's northwest side and connects to a highway leading out to Nablus, which in the Hebrew Bible was called Shechem or Sichem, and from there, in times past, to the capital of Syria, Damascus; as such, its modern English name is the Damascus Gate, and its modern Hebrew name is Sha'ar Shkhem (שער שכם), meaning Shechem Gate, or in modern terms Nablus Gate. Of its historic Arabic names, Bāb al-Naṣr (باب النصر) means "gate of victory", and the current one, Bāb al-ʿĀmūd (Read more

The Damascus Gate is one of the main Gates of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is located in the wall on the city's northwest side and connects to a highway leading out to Nablus, which in the Hebrew Bible was called Shechem or Sichem, and from there, in times past, to the capital of Syria, Damascus; as such, its modern English name is the Damascus Gate, and its modern Hebrew name is Sha'ar Shkhem (שער שכם), meaning Shechem Gate, or in modern terms Nablus Gate. Of its historic Arabic names, Bāb al-Naṣr (باب النصر) means "gate of victory", and the current one, Bāb al-ʿĀmūd (باب العامود), means "gate of the column". The latter, in use continuously since at least as early as the 10th century, preserves the memory of a Roman column towering over the square behind the gate and dating to the 2nd century AD.

The gate from outside the walls, 1904 - 1908 The gate from outside the walls, 1904–1908 Damascus Gate northern facade, 1920

In its current form, the gate was built in 1537 under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent;[1] however, a gate is known to have been located in the same spot since the Roman period.

Roman and Byzantine periods

Beneath the current gate, the remains of an earlier gate can be seen, dating back to the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian,[2] who visited the region in 129/130 CE. Directly below the 16th-century gate there is an older gate, dated by most archaeologists to the second century CE.[3] In the square behind this gate stood a Roman victory column topped by a statue of Emperor Hadrian, as depicted on the 6th-century Madaba Map.[1] This historical detail is preserved in the current gate's Arabic name, Bab el-Amud, meaning "gate of the column".[1] On the lintel of the 2nd-century gate, which has been made visible by archaeologists beneath today's Ottoman gate, is inscribed the city's Roman name after 130 CE, Aelia Capitolina.[1]

Until the latest excavations (1979–1984),[2] some researchers believed that Hadrian's gate was preceded by one erected by Agrippa I (r. 41–44 CE) as part of the so-called Third Wall.[4][5] However, recent research seems to prove that the gate does not predate the Roman reconstruction of the city as Aelia Capitolina, during the first half of the second century.[2]

Hadrian's Roman gate was built as a free-standing triumphal gate, and only sometime towards the end of the 3rd or the very beginning of the 4th century were there protective walls built around Jerusalem, connecting to the existing gate.

Early Muslim and Crusader periods  The Damascus Gate from inside the walls, 1945

The Roman gate remained in use during the Early Muslim and Crusader period, but several storerooms were added by the Crusaders outside the gate, so that access to the city became possible only by passing through those rooms.[5] Several phases of construction work on the gate took place during the early 12th century (first Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099–1187), the early Ayyubid period (1187–1192), and the 13th-century second phase of Crusader rule over Jerusalem.[6] The Crusader barbican consisted mainly in an outer gatehouse opening to the east, and connected to the central portal of the Roman gate by an L-shaped courtyard enclosed by massive walls.[7] The barbican was destroyed twice, in 1219/20 by al-Mu'azzam 'Isa when he tore down all fortifications in Palestine, and in 1239 by an-Nasir Da'ud.[7]

Names

The Damascus Gate is the only Jerusalem gate to have preserved its Arabic name, Bab al-Amud ('Gate of the Column'), since at least the 10th century.[8] The Crusaders called it St. Stephen's Gate (in Latin, Porta Sancti Stephani), highlighting its proximity to the site of martyrdom of Saint Stephen, marked since the time of Empress Eudocia by a church and monastery.[6] A 1523 account of a visit to Jerusalem by a Jewish traveller from Leghorn uses the name Bâb el 'Amud and notes its proximity to the Cave of Zedekiah.[9]

^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference Berrett was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b c Archaeological Sites in Israel-Jerusalem: The Northern Gate of Aelia Capitolina, on the website of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 29 July 1998, retrieved 7 August 2022. ^ Geva, Hillel; Bahat, Dan (1998). "Architectural and Chronological Aspects of the Ancient Damascus Gate Area". Israel Exploration Journal (IEJ. Jerusalem. 48 (3/4): 225–226. JSTOR 27926522. Retrieved 7 August 2022. ^ Geva & Bahat (1998), pp. 225-230. ^ a b Israel Antiquities Authority, The Damascus Gate Section, accessed January 2016. Quote: "Some researchers believe the gate was first erected at the time of Agrippa I, in the mid first century CE. If so, then the ancient gate structure was incorporated in course of the Third Wall." ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Boas was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b Wightman, Gregory J. (1989). The Damascus Gate, Jerusalem: Excavations by C.-M. Bennett and J.B. Hennessy at the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem, 1964-66. BAR international series, British archaeological reports. Vol. 519. pp. 45, 60. ISBN 0860546608. Retrieved 7 August 2022. Late publication of dig by John Basil Hennessy and Crystal-Margaret Bennett. ^ Cite error: The named reference Margoliouth was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Simpson, William (1869). "The Royal Caverns or Quarries, Jerusalem". Quarterly Statement. London: Palestine Exploration Fund (7): 373–79 [376]. Also here at archive.org.
Photographies by:
Berthold Werner - CC BY-SA 3.0
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