herodnew gate


  • Issue: April 1971
  • Designer: E. Weishoff
  • Plate no.: 313 - 316
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The Municipality of Jerusalem has - since 1967 - carried out a variety of development projects in connection with the Old City walls and its gates. Among others there is the cleaning of the Citadel (David's Tower) and its opening to the public; the nucleus of the Jerusalem City Museum was created in some of its halls. There have been carried out repairs and restorations of the ancient city walls as well as of the footpath which leads along the top of the walls (between Lions and Damascus Gates; New Gate and Jaffa Gate; Zion and Dung Gates). The Municipality also installed floodlighting along the historic walls of the Old City, beginning from Damascus Gate up to and including Jaffa Gate and the Citadel. The damages caused to the City gates as a result of the fighting in 1967 were repaired and the gates were restored.

Herod's Gate

This gate is named after King Herod, who was responsible for a good deal of building in old Jerusalem. It is also known as the Flower Gate, from the Arabic Bab ez-Zah'ra. This is a corruption of the medieval name, which was es-Sah'ra, also applied to the adjacent hill that is the site of a Moslem cemetery. The word "es-Sah'ra" means the "eternally wakeful", and the cemetery has this name because according to Moslem tradition the dead will come to life there in the end of days. The name is mentioned in the Koran: " ... es-sahira (to judgement)." In the course of time, sahira became zah'ra, accounting for the designation "Gate of Flowers."

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New Gate

The most recently-built of Jerusalem's gates, New Gate is also the one at the highest elevation. It was built in 1889 by permission of the Turkish sultan, Abdul Hamid, and that is why its Arabic name is Bab Abdul Hamid, or Bab es-Sultan.

It was at the request of the French ambassador at the Turkish capital that the sultan agreed to having the city wall breached at that point and a gate constructed, in order to allow easier access to the Christian quarter from the neighboring convents and monasteries. During Israel 's War of Independence in 1948, Jewish fighters succeeded in pushing through this gate, but were forced to retreat. An inscription on the gate describes this action, which took place on July 17, 1948.

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Shechem (Nablus) Gate

Known as Damascus Gate by Christians, this gate is the most beautiful of all and the center of Arab life in East Jerusalem. Its Hebrew and Christian names both refer to the road which starts at that point, going first to Shechem (Nablus), the capital of Samaria, and then northwards to the Syrian capital. The Arabs call it Bab el-Amood (pillar), apparently because of a pillar formerly placed just inside it, from which distances were reckoned. The pillar figures in the sixth century "Madaba" map, which is depicted in a mosaic floor in the little town of Madaba (the biblical Meidaba), in Jordan.

Under the existing gate are remains of a more ancient wall and gate, dating from the Roman period. The worn but readable inscription on it is Aelia Capitolina, the Romans' name for Jerusalem.

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Jaffa Gate

The most important of Jerusalem's gates, it bears this name because a road goes from it northwest to Jaffa, Jerusalem's port in ancient times. Arabs call it Bab el-Halil, the Hebron Gate, for a second road goes from it to that city. The Jaffa Gate and the adjacent wall were built in 1538 under the Turks. The Arab inscription above the gate tells of its construction in the days of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

Jaffa Gate was the center of the community and commercial life of Jerusalem for many generations. In Turkish times, municipal and Government institutions, stores, hostelries and offices were situated in its vicinity.

The nearby Tower of David had a deep moat dug all around it as a protection against hostile invaders. Most of the moat is still visible, but the section near Jaffa Gate was filled in, in 1898, in honor of the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. In 1917, a few days after the city was captured from the Turks, the British commander-in-chief, General Sir Edmund Allenby, made his formal entrance into Jerusalem through Jaffa Gate, at the head of his forces.

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Twenty-Third Independence Day