Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Gates of Jerusalem Then and Now, Part I
Zion Gate

Zion Gate (1860) by Peter Bergheim.  Note the
smooth walls. Duringthe 1948 war fighting
 the stones of the Zion Gate were pock-marked
from bullets and shells.
The wall of Jerusalem's Old City that we see today was built in 1540 during the days of the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent. 
The location and name "Zion Gate" appear on maps dating back to the 12th century.  It is one of eight gates in the Old City Wall.  
Expulsion of Jews from the Jewish Quarter in the 1948 War
through the Zion Gate (John Philips for Life Magazine)

Camels leaving "David's Portal"

Located between Mt. Zion and the Jewish and Armenian Quarters, the gate was the setting for fierce fighting during the 1948 war.  A small Palmach force, commanded by David "Dado" Elazar (later IDF chief of staff in 1973), attempted to break through the gate on May 19 to relieve the beseiged Jewish Quarter.  They were met with stiff resistance by the Jordanian Legion and were forced to withdraw.

On May 28, 1948 the Jewish Quarter surrendered.  Jews were evacuated through Zion Gate and didn't return until the city of Jerusalem was reunited 19 years later in the June 1967 war. 

Update -- more pictures found

Zion Gate (circa 1898)  The photo was
captioned "Jerusalem" with no further detail.
While the American Colony photographic
department was established in 1898, its
founder, Elijah Meyer, was an active
photographer prior to that date.
Zion Gate (circa 1900)

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