Zion Gate, Jerusalem, Israel
Eight gates lead to Jerusalem’s Old City walls. The magnificent Zion gate, connecting between the Jewish Quarter and Mount Zion, reminds us of the most ancient biblical name given to Jerusalem and Isreal- Zion.
In Arabic, it bears the name ”Bab Nabi Daud” which translates to ”The Gate of the Prophet David” based on the tradition that indentifies Mount Zion as the ‘Tomb of David’. It is also called in Arabic ”Bab Harat al Yahud” which means the gate of the Jewish Quarter. The gate leads to both Jewish Quarter and Armenian Quarter.
Zion Gate’s history dates back to the Ottoman period when it was built in 1540 by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the builder of the Jerusalem’s old city walls. The entrance to the gate was built in an angle of 90 degree in order to fort attacks on Jerusalem.
On the gate, numerous bullet holes can be seen from the Israeli War of Independence which took place in May 1948. The Palmach, the Israeli forces, fought against the Jordanians forces in order to gain control on the Jewish Quarter. Finally, the quarter was conquered and the gate was under the rule of the Jordanians until 1967, the Six Day War, when it was used by the Israeli Defense Forces to liberate the old city.
The name Zion Gate refers to “Mount Zion”, the place where the first and second Jewish temples stood. It later became a synonym for Jerusalem and Israel. The word Zion can also be spelled as Sion, Tsion or Tzion. The phrase ”Zion” appears 108 times in the Hebrew Bible. For example, the book of Psalms states: ”By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion” (Psalms 137:1).
The term ”Zionism” was coined in 1891 by the Austrian journalist Nathan Birnbaum in order to describe the ideology.
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