Herod’s Gate in Jerusalem

May 17, 2017

We continue to explore some of the gates of Jerusalem, as we share some our photos from our recent trip to Israel. Today’s post features Herod’s Gate.

Herod’s Gate in Jerusalem. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor writes:

The official name of this gate is Bab ez-Zahr, ‘the Flowered Gate’. It got its present name only in the C16 or C17 because pilgrims believed a Mamluk house inside near the Franciscan Monastery of the Flagellation to be the palace of Herod Antipas. The original entrance is in the east face of the tower. It was at this point that the Crusaders first established a bridgehead on the walls at noon on 15 July 1099. Just beside the west face of the first tower going towards Damascus Gate the channel of an aqueduct is marked by a series of irregular covering slabs. Pottery embedded in the plaster of the last repair show it to have been in use until the late C3AD or early C4. The ditch in which the present road runs must therefore be subsequent to this date, because it cuts the aqueduct. This suggests that the earliest wall on the present line at this point must be dated to the last years of Aelia Capitolina. Slightly further west the wall makes a curve inward and follows the rim of an ancient quarry which extended across the road into what is now the bus station; for details see SOLOMON’S QUARRIES (p. 162). The weight of the wall caused part of the roof of the quarry to cave in. The small walled section in the centre at ground level enshrines part of a sloping glacis of uncertain date. The wall of Herod Agrippa I (AD 41–4) linking Damascus Gate with the East Gate in the ECCE HOMO CONVENT (p. 35), must have turned south on the highest point to the west now occupied by the Spafford Hospital. (The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide from Earliest Times to 1700, Oxford Archaeological Guides, p. 14).

We previously posted (in 2011) on Herod’s Gate here.

Sign pointing to Herod’s Gate. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Click photo for larger view.

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Herod’s Gate/Flower Gate

July 8, 2011

Yesterday our post showed Jerusalem’s Golden Gate, located on the eastern wall of the city. I recently came across a helpful sketch which shows the present walls and gates of Jerusalem.

Old City Map from Wikimedia Commons. Shows Jerusalem's Walls and Gates.

Herod’s Gate is located on the north side of the city (see #3 above).

Herod's Gate in Jerusalem. Located on north wall. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The designation “Herod’s Gate” is based on the erroneous notion that just inside the walls was the palace of Herod Antipas. That view has no historical basis.

The gate is also called “Flowers Gate.” You can see the floral design at top center.

Floral Design on Herod's Gate.. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

This gate leads into the Muslim Quarter of the Old City from the northern city walls.

Herod’s gate was built in 1539, and has recently been renovated. Hebrew term is Sha’ar HaPerachim. The Mazor Guide states:

Sha’ar HaPerachim is situated east of the Damascus gate and adjoins the Moslem Quarter of the old city. Archeological excavations show that the wall between the Damascus Gate and Herod’s Gate has irregular channels reflecting that sections of the walls were built on top of structures dating back to the time when emperor Hadrian built Aela Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem.

Click on images for higher resolution.