Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem, Israel
The Jaffa Gate is a 16th C Ottoman gate which is located on the western side of the old city facing the direction of Jaffa. It is the main entrance from the western section to the eastern old city section.
The walls in this area were first built by the Hasmonean kings in the 2nd C BC in the highest point in the old city (773M). This construction was in order to strengthen the new expanded western side, the “upper city”, which had no natural defenses -unlike the valley of Kidron on the east side. The site was located in the north-western corner of the Hasmonean defense walls.
Herod the Great, the great builder of Jerusalem and Israel, added here 3 mighty towers (37-34BC). For a detailed description, see David’s tower.
After the fall of Jerusalem (70AD) the site was a Roman camp. During the Arab conquest (638AD) a fortress was built, and later was conquered (1099) and then rebuilt by the Crusaders. The Crusaders built a gate behind the present location and called it David’s gate. Saladin captured the city in 1187, and the gates and walls were later destroyed by Al-Mu’azzam, the Ayyubid Sultan of Damascus, during the fifth crusade (1219). The Mamlukes replace the Ayyubids in 1250 but leave the walls leveled in fear of a Crusader re-conquest.
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