Monday, March 12, 2012

The Gates of Jerusalem -- Herod's Gate
Part 8 of a Series on the Gates of Jerusalem's Old City

Herod's Gate (circa 1898)
Herod's Gate is located at the northeast corner of Jerusalem's Old City between Damascus Gate and Lion's Gate, adjoining the Muslim Quarter.  It is also called the Flower Gate because of intricate stone designs above the gate, and the Sheep's Gate because of the animal market held outside of the gate. 

The sheep market outside of Herod's Gate (circa 1900)
The name "Herod's Gate" was based on the belief that King Herod's palace was located near the site.  In fact, the gate was a modest entrance until the 1870s when the Turks built the more impressive gate to give access to neighborhoods north of the Old City.

A sacrifice ceremony outside of Herod's Gate (circa 1898)
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 gates serve as points of entry into the Old City. The eighth gate, the Golden Gate located at the entrance to the Temple Mount, has been sealed for centuries. 

During the Arab Revolt (1936-1939) the Old City of Jerusalem was subject to British police curfews and even the sealing of the gates.
British police with dogs at Herod's
Gate (1937)

Sealed gate (1938)
The Israeli Defense Forces captured the Old City in June 1967 and opened the Herod's Gate for pedestrians.
See previous photo essays on the Zion Gate, Damascus Gate, Golden Gate, Dung GateJaffa Gate, the New Gate and Lions Gate.

Herod's Gate today

Click on the photos to enlarge.

Click on the captions to see the originals.


  1. Just to expand on this - "During the Arab Revolt (1936-1939) the Old City of Jerusalem was subject to British police curfews and even the sealing of the gates" - the Arabs actually took over the Old City and held it for a few days during Ocotber 1938, forcing the British to mount a military operation to take it back as you noted here.

  2. The alternative name of Herod's Gate as the Flower Gate arises from a corruption of the Arabic name, and not as described in your account. The following is a summary of the Hebrew wikipedia entry

    'The name 'Flower Gate ' results from a corruption of the medieval-period Arabic name 'Bab El Sahara' – the Gate of the Nighttime Walkers' - taken from the word Al-Sahara, the name of the Muslim cemetery opposite the gate. This is a reference to the revival of the dead in the end of days, as mentioned in the Koran. The corruption of the 'S' for a 'Z' created the name Bab El- Zahara, the Flower Gate. The claim that the name refers to floral decorations is incorrect as all the city gates are decorated with floral designs.'