Monday, June 28, 2010

The Flower Gate rededicated today

The cleaning and restoration of the Old City's gates continues.
(Remember the Jaffa Gate post in April?)
Today, just in time for That's My World, Jerusalem had the re-dedication of a third gate.

As seen from inside the Old City, this is Herod's Gate or the Flower Gate.
In Arabic it is Bab iz-Zahireh.
Turkish ruler Suleiman the Magnificent built the two and a half mile wall around the city in 1539.
Today, seven gates in his wall give access into the Old City.
The Flower Gate was originally an east-facing postern, a narrow gate only wide enough for a pack animal and a person.

A bigger opening was breached in the gate's northern facade in 1875 to let bigger vehicles get through.
Like this golf cart-type vehicle.

The posters in Hebrew and Arabic show the before and after and the work plans.
You can read the story in English in the press release of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
My favorite part is this:
"The rehabilitation work on the gate took four months to complete and was conducted in cooperation with the local residents and merchants so as not to disrupt the bustling urban activity that is characteristic of the place."

You see the men in blue? They are the ones who did the actual work.
The Arab employees of the Antiquities Authority are always given well-deserved recognition at these dedications.
As a sometime-archaeology worker myself, I appreciate that the big directors say thank you to them.
Mayor Nir Barkat spoke of the 800,000 Jerusalem residents welcoming 2 million tourists per year.
Within a decade he aims for 10 million tourists per year.

After the speeches we were all invited into the nice clean Flower Gate for a guided tour.
I have never seen such steep steps up to the top of the wall. Oi!

It was a nice mix of Old City and east Jerusalem Arab residents and Jewish Jerusalemites taking interest and pride in the beautiful restored gate.

The view from the top was worth the climb!
Below is Sultan Suleiman Street, of course!, named for the builder of the city wall.
UPDATE: Please see my post about the Gypsy population of Jerusalem. I first learned that they exist when their mukhtar gave a speech at this gate dedication.


Jew Wishes said...

What fantastic photos and the story behind them.

I love visiting you, looking at the surroundings through your eyes, and reading about your journeys.

Irina said...

You have a talent to tell stories. Interesting stories about fantastic place.

noel said...


those are pretty spectacular, i really enjoyed your story of this gate, thanks for sharing these

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I enjoyed this tour very much. Thanks for including the building plans (I like the second from last photo best) ta

Hels said...

It really DOES look excellent.. well done.

Why did Herod's Gate change its name? And will people now use Flower Gate as their regular entry into the city? I would not like to be inside the gate when 10 million tourists arrive ha ha

Jenn said...

The gate is beautiful. It is most heartening to see of the cooperation of many. Great post!

Regina said...

Such magnificent structures.
Thank you for sharing.

Cloudia said...

next Jerusalem!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Luna Miranda said...

a very interesting post, and marvelous photos. i always enjoy visiting your site--it gives me a different perspective.

Jedediah said...

Beautiful. your posts always make me want to visit Jerusalem, maybe one day I will be able to :)

Turquoise Diaries said...

Wonderful photos Dina and its also amazing to see a bit of our history there..

Chuck Pefley said...

So nice to see this restoration, and the multi-cultural support.

Thanks for the Vespa post tip!

VP said...

I knew this as Herod's Gate, nice to know the have found a name less scaring for children (or more politically correct...).

Louis la Vache said...

Fantastic - and, as Irina wrote, you have a talent for story-telling.

Garet Benson said...

Mayor Barkat wants 10 million tourists in Jerusalem per year?!! In Pirkei Avot it says, "Nobody ever said, 'Tzar li hamakom she'alin beYerushalayim' ['There's not enough room for me to lodge in Jerusalem]," but that figure sounds alarming to me.