Friday, December 2, 2011

The Gates of Jerusalem -- Jaffa Gate, Prior to 1918
Part 6 of a series on Jerusalem's Gates

Jaffa Gate circa 1890, before construction of a road into the
city and a clock tower honoring the Ottoman Sultan
The Jaffa Gate of the Old City is unquestionably the busiest gate in the ancient walls.  Damascus Gate, bordering the Moslem Quarter, serves a large pedestrian population, and the Dung Gate/Tanners Gate is an important exit for visitors to the Western Wall.  But Jaffa Gate, so named because it faces west toward Jaffa, is the main entrance for pedestrians and motor vehicles -- buses, trucks, taxis and cars.

It wasn't always so. 

Until the late 1800s the narrow angled gate limited wheeled traffic.  A moat was an additional barrier.  All that changed when the Ottoman authorities rebuilt the gate to allow the German Emperor's carriages to enter the city in 1898.  
Jaffa Gate circa 1860

Jaffa Gate interior, circa 1870, note the narrow path and moat 


Breach in the wall, circa 1900

Traffic jam inside Jaffa Gate, 1898,
Turkish military escort, possibly part
of the German Emperor's visit.
Gen. Allenby entering Jaffa Gate by foot, 1917

The wagons, carriages and Turkish army cavalry in the Jaffa Gate picture taken in 1898 (right) suggest that the scene was part of the reception for the German Emperor.  Enlarging the picture reveals the American flag on the building on the left, flying over the American Colony Store.  Also revealed are Jewish residents and Christian clerics mixed in the crowd.  See other 110-year-old pictures of Jerusalem's Jews here, here, and here.

Another important landmark at the Jaffa Gate to help date antique pictures is the clock tower built in 1908 in honor of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II.  After the British captured the city in 1917 the ornate tower was torn down.

In deference to the holiness of the city and in contrast to the German Emperor's carriage-borne ride into the Old City almost 20 years earlier, British General Allenby chose not to ride into the Old City of Jerusalem. 

The Old City of Jerusalem is surrounded by four kilometers (2.5 miles) of walls built by the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, in 1540.  Seven open gates serve as points of entry into the Old City.  Several other gates, some dating back to the days of the Second Temple, are sealed.

See previous photo essays on the Zion Gate, Damascus Gate, Golden Gate, Dung Gate and Lions Gate.

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Click on the captions to see the originals.

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1 comment:

  1. For firstimers here, check two blog posts:

    This one

    and this one here