Daily Archives: April 20, 2010

Jaffa Gate unveiling tomorrow

The newly rehabilitated Jaffa Gate will be unveiled tomorrow, April 21, after several months of conservation work. Jaffa Gate is the only one of the seven gates of the Old City on the western side of Jerusalem.

Jaffa Gate awaiting unveiling. Photo: IAA.

Jaffa Gate awaits unveiling after several months of rehabilitation. Photo: IAA.

The Israel Antiquities Authority press release briefly describes the history of the gate:

Jaffa Gate was first inaugurated in 1538. It constituted part of the city walls and in fact it was only toward the end of the nineteenth century did it become a center of bustling and prosperous activity. The period culminated in the year 1898, when it was decided to breach a wide entrance in the city wall of Jerusalem (as we know it today) and thereby allow the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II and his wife, Augusta Victoria, to enter the city in their carriage. Thus, for the first time in the history of modern Jerusalem, carts could enter the Old City.

In the War of Independence the gate was the focal point of some very harsh battles. During the war Jaffa Gate was completely blocked by an armored vehicle that had been damaged in the fighting and was wedged in the opening. In the cease-fire agreements between Israel and Jordan Jaffa Gate stood at the opening to the no man’s land that stretched from Jaffa Gate to Zahal Square and the Mamilla neighborhood and separated it from Jordanian controlled Jerusalem in the east. Consequently, the blocked armored vehicle was not removed, and the gate remained closed the entire period that the city was divided. The remains of the bullets that pierced the stones of the gate are clearly visible on the upper parts of the structure.

You may read the press release in its entirety here.

Jaffa Gate during rehabilitation. Photo: IAA.

Jaffa Gate during rehabilitation. Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority.

English Bible students will recognize the word Jaffa as Joppa. This is the gate through which one would leave Jerusalem to go to Joppa on the Mediterranean coast. Cedar timber from Lebanon was brought from Joppa to Jerusalem for the building of Solomon’s temple.

And we will cut whatever timber you need from Lebanon and bring it to you in rafts by sea to Joppa, so that you may take it up to Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 2:16 ESV)

HT: Joseph I. Lauer