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Mt. Zion Gate Dedicated Again - on 468th Birthday

In the presence of the Mayor of Jerusalem and War of Independence warriors, Old Jerusalem's Zion Gate was re-dedicated this week.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 7/30/2008, 6:21 PM

In the presence of the Mayor of Jerusalem and War of Independence warriors, Old Jerusalem's Zion Gate was re-dedicated this week.

This week marked the 468th birthday of the Zion Gate, which was built in 1540 for Suleiman the Magnificent, the longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.  The re-dedication ceremony, in the presence of Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, marked the occasion, following six months of intensive restoration work. The inner area and front face were refurbished, as was the wording of the dedication to Suleimon which appears above the gate.  The bullet and shell holes that have been there since the 1948 battles were not changed in the restoration process.

The moving ceremony also featured a reunion of several Israeli Palmach fighters who attempted to break through the Zion Gate in the 1948 war.  Jordan's Arab Legion ultimately retained control of the entire Old City during that war, and the Old City remained closed off to Jews until Israel liberated it in the Six Day War of 1967.

Zion Gate is named for its location on Mount Zion, though it is also known as David's Gate, because it passes near King David's tomb.  Large cars sometimes have trouble negotiating the L-shaped gate, which leads to the road connecting Jaffa Gate and the Jewish Quarter. 

The Antiquities Authority, the Jerusalem Development Authority and the City of Jerusalem all chipped in to pay 800,000 shekels (nearly $232,000) for the restoration of the city's fanciest and southern-most gate. The work was done as part of the Old City Walls Preservation and Restoration Project.