Monday, February 8, 2010

Zion Gate by night

On a cold and rainy night last week we walked out of the Old City of Jerusalem through the Zion Gate.
But not until this little car exited. There is no room for both pedestrians and a car.
The bigger cars have to maneuver, with at least one backing-up, through the angled gate.
They can blame the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. He built the city wall (on top of a much older one) in 1540.
He made the Zion Gate, as well as the Jaffa and Damascus Gates, angled in order to prevent invaders from charging straight through.

Archers could shoot arrows from the top of the wall.
Through the opening just above the arch the defenders could pour boiling tar or oil on an attacking enemy.
Iron rods could be pushed out from the long slits on the left and right of the gate to stop enemy chariots.
The sharp turn to the right made it hard for horsemen holding a sword or javelin in their right hand to overcome defenders on the inside attacking them from their left.
Even in modern times the Zion Gate has suffered, as the many bullet holes from the 1948 War of Independence testify.

The pavement around the gate, when wet, is only slightly less slippery than it looks.
Zion Gate underwent six months of restoration in 2008. A good photo of the work on the Sultan's dedicatory plaque is here.
Wikipedia has a brief history of the gate.
Hope you enjoyed your night journey to the Holy City.
For more tours around the blog world, check in to That's My World Tuesday tonight.


VP said...

A lot of history in these stones. You probably know the story of Uzi Narkiss, one of the last defenders of the Gate in 1948 and the leader of the troops that recaptured the Old City in 1967.

Linda said...

This is such a great trip down memory lane.

MOO said...

Love these snaps! My next travel adventure will be in the Eastern Mediterranean...fingers crossed!

Sara said...

Oh yes, I enjoyed that very much indeed. I want to see more!

altadenahiker said...

Zion in Winter.

Spiderdama said...

I enjoyed it much and I wanna go back as soon as posible:-)
Thanks for interesting post!
Have a nice evening.

Stine in Ontario said...

I love it that the city is continuously being restored. It's a part of the world that is so important to so many cultures.

Dina said...

VP, if the young army commanders of the young army had not botched that assault on the Zion Gate, maybe the Jewish Quarter would not have fallen to the Arab Legion 9 days later.
Maybe the Zion Gate would not have stayed locked from 1948 to 1967.
History could have been a lot different.

Linda, Memory Lane, that could be a name for any street in the Old City. Thousands of years of memories.
Glad yours are good.

MOO, like here?? Yay!

Sara, more is coming.

Altadenahiker, ahalan! Good one--a Zion in Winter!

Spiderdama, I wish you could scale the Old City walls next trip. :)

Stine, yes, good point. It is a big responsibility too.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Dina: A beautiful gate in the city. It was made way before cars were thought of.

Tash said...

Fantastic photos. Thank you for the descriptions.

Chuck Pefley said...

Boiling oil and hot tar. Visitors not always welcomed, I guess -:)

Diederick Wijmans said...

If these walls could speak...!!
Beautiful stones!

Anonymous said...

great night captures and interesting info

spacedlaw said...

That was cunning to have the entrance bent! Not handy, but very cunning.

Hilda said...

Another absolutely fascinating post, Dina. The sharp turn and the slits for iron rods is new to me. Thank you for the very interesting, though quite violent, explanation.

Catherine said...

Why did invaders try to enter by this Zion gate ? They didn't see the no-entry signs !!! (don't worry, Dina, it's just me and my mischievous comment..)
This is a wonderful fortified door, a good job of restoration. Thanks they keep the pavement to go with it ! By night, it's fantastic.

jewwishes said...

The photos are a great study in textures, not only history and beauty.

Pietro said...

Very charming night perspectives, Dina. The Zion Gate is so interesting, I enjoyed this nice post.

JM said...

The wall and doorway look amazing at night! Great shots, Dina!

Tina Liel said...

How great these night shots look! And how great that the sun is back. My husband was in Jerusalem today and said that the weather was lovely. HUGS

Cloudia said...


Leif Hagen said...

I love the history and the textures in your photos, Dina!

Maggie Ann said...

I did enjoy that! Thank you.

ruma2008 said...

Yes. I enjoyed night of Jerusalem.
Stone pavements such as the mirror show the history.

Jilly said...

These are such beautiful shots of the city. It's mindblowing to think of the age and the people that have passed through the archway and walked on the cobbles. Wonderful!

Suzanne said...

I like! I like!

Dick said...

Yes I've enjoyed it, why is everything green, or is it the camera?