Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Shechem)
The Old City’s Damascus Gate (Bab Alamud, Sha’ar Shechem) is the main point of entry into the Muslim Quarter.
Built in 1542 by Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent, the Damascus Gate (also known as Shechem Gate or Nablus Gate) to Jerusalem’s Old City takes after its creator when it comes to sheer grandeur. The massive entrance is flanked on both sides by imposing parapeted towers, and is further accentuated by its lead-in, a broad staircase.
It is believed that there has been a gate at the site since the time of the Second Temple. In front of this gate stood a Roman victory column topped with the Emperor Hadrian’s image, as depicted on the 6th century Madaba Map. Part of the Roman-era gate is visible today following excavations that were made during the British Mandate, although archaeologists have thus far been unsuccessful in uncovering a soaring Roman victory pillar that reputedly lent the Gate its Arabic name, “Bab el-Amud” – the Column Gate.
The Crusaders called it St. Stephen’s Gate (in Latin, Porta Sancti Stephani), highlighting its proximity to St. Stephen’s Church and the site of his martyrdom.
Coming into the Old City through the Damascus Gate, one enters a bustling Arab bazaar leading into the Muslim Quarter. In and around the gate are several important Christian sites including the Garden Tomb, where Protestants believe that Jesus was buried and resurrected.
Beit HaBad Street
This Moslem Quarter market street, Suk Khan el Zait in Arabic, with hundreds of restaurants and shops, connects the Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Shechem) and the main roads in the Old City.