Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Walls & Gates of Jerusalem, Jaffa Gate --
More Pictures from the Emory University Collection, Part 4

When was this picture of the Jaffa Gate taken? Here are clues.
The Jaffa Gate, from the Emory collection. Several features in the photograph tell us when the picture
was taken. Note the tower, in particular.

Jaffa Gate photographed by Peter Bergheim, perhaps as
early as 1860 (Library of Congress collection)
For centuries, the entrances to Jerusalem were small and often built with sharp angles to make access difficult to attackers.  Jerusalem consisted only of the Old City with little habitation beyond the walls, rebuilt in 1540 during the reign of the Ottoman ruler, Suleiman the Magnificent.  Until the end of the 19th century, most wagons and carriages stopped outside of the gates and people and products went in through the gates. 

William Seward (Abraham Lincoln's secretary of state) wrote in 1871 that the population of the Old City was 16,000, comprised of 8,000 Jews, 4,000 Mohammedans, and 4,000 Christians.
Original caption: "Interior of Jaffa Gate from near Hotel Mediterranean"
by Felix Bonfils (circa 1870). Note the moat on the left and the narrow
path. Mark Twain and his "Innocents Abroad" colleagues stayed in
the Hotel Mediterranean in 1867.



Two major architectural changes in the Jaffa Gate in 1898 and 1908 help historians date the early photographs of the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem.  The first was the breaching of the wall in 1898 to permit German Emperor Wilhelm II to ride into the Old City without dismounting and with his escort of carriages.  To built the roadway, a moat -- visible in pre-1898 photos -- had to be filled in.

 Click on photos to enlarge.

Click on captions to view the original pictures.



In 1908 the Turkish authorities built a clock tower near the gate in honor of Sultan Abdul Hamid II. 
A photochrom picture of the Jaffa Gate (circa 1890). Note the wall of
the moat under the yellow arrow, indicating the photo was prior to 1898.

The British captured Jerusalem in 1917, and the tower was knocked down in 1922.

We can now determine that the Emory University collection photo was taken after 1908 when the tower was erected.

Once the Jaffa Gate walls were breached, the entrance became a major thoroughfare, especially as an entrance to the Turkish army base and prison in the Old City, known as the "Kishle."

The shops outside the gate were torn down prior to the German Emperor's visit.
Traffic jam inside Jaffa Gate, 1898. The Turkish military escort, was possibly part of the German Emperor's entourage. 
Close inspection on the left of the photo shows an American flag hanging outside of the Grand or Central Hotel,
formerly the Mediterranean Hotel.

A Jewish shop immediately outside of Jaffa Gate
Another view of Jaffa Gate before 1898. See
adjacent photo enlargement of the shops
 





















































An photo enlargement of the Jaffa Gate and the shops (from the picture taken before 1898) shows a Jewish millinery shop with a Hebrew sign selling various headgear for religious Jews, some of whom are standing outside of the shop.

The Library of Congress caption notes:
Photograph taken before October 1898 visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Jerusalem when a breach was made in the wall near the Jaffa Gate. (Source: L. Ben-David, Israel's History - A picture a day, Oct. 30, 2012.)

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