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Jaffa Gate

Jaffa Gate is one of the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the most popularly used entrance to the Old City by tourists and locals alike.

It begins in the Armenian Quarter but if you continue straight you’ll enter the Muslim market and if you turn to the right and follow the path, you’ll find yourself at the Jewish Quarter.

Jaffa Gate early in the morning
Jaffa Gate in the morning light

In the past, it was a bustling and central place, the meeting point of merchants, travelers and pedestrians. Today right through Jaffa gate is a lively section of the old and filled with shops and visitors.

Musicians playing inside Jaffa Gate

The picture above is of some musicians I once saw playing in side Jaffa gate as I walked through it into the old city. It is honestly one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken because it shows so much of the soul of the city.

Right past the gates to your left is the beginning of the Ramparts Walk where you will get a unique view of the city.

Or, you can continue straight to the shops – I once bought beautiful handmade Roman glass jewelery from a ship near here.

People walking near Jaffa Gate

Right inside the gate, is the Tower of David Museum and the Ramparts Walk.

Jaffa Gate was completed in 1538 as part of the rebuilding of the Old City walls by Suleiman the Magnificent.

It is called Jaffa Gate because, as it does today, it is connected to Jaffa Road which in turn stretched all the way to the port in Old City of Jaffa. This way travelers and pilgrims took to the Old City.

Jaffa Gate from within the Old City

The gate has the shape of a medieval gate tower with an L-shaped entryway which was secured at both ends with heavy doors. This shape was a classical defensive measure designed to slow down oncoming attackers.

Above the gate there is an upper combat compartment, named Mashikoli, which was used for a lookout and for spilling hot oil on intruders.

Above the gate we can see an inscription carved in stone, which blesses the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who built the gate and the walls of the old city.

Next to the Gate is a large breach in the wall was created in 1898 by the Ottoman authorities in order to honor German emperor Wilhelm II who came through them.

Breach in the wall near Jaffa Gate

The demolished wall segment moved to citadel moat, a portion of which was filled in, to create a ramp.

The breach and the ramp leading up to it are now allowing cars to access the Old City from the west.

Near this entrance is the Tower of David Museum and the beginning of the Ramparts Walk.

Outside the gate, is a stone-paved courtyard from which one can admire views of modern Jerusalem.

You can see Montefiore’s Windmill and his Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood, the red-tile roof of Yemin Moshe neighborhood, and the King David Hotel.

From here you can enter Mamilla Mall, which is a shopping street and the only open-air mall which leads back to town.

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