Jerusalem – the gateway to God.

The city of Jerusalem which is smaller than a square mile has been conquered on 40 occasions and been overrun and destroyed 18 separate times. This controversial holy land and ‘city of peace’ (meaning of Jerusalem) has had walls surrounding it to keep off invaders and with its walls comes its gates. The walls of Jerusalem are two and a half miles long and can be walked around briskly in two hour.

Most of the walls of Jerusalem as we see them today go back to the early 1500 when Suleiman the great undertook the urban renewal of Jerusalem. When the Turks took control of it, the city was in poor condition and so Suleiman began to renew the walls. He maintained the holy places and improved the water system

However the work was done quickly and often carelessly. It is obvious that many of the large stones displaced when the Roman destroyed the city of Jerusalem in the first century, were hap hazardly set in place by Suleiman’s workers. Sometimes old Roman engravings can be found upside down or out of place.

The first ones to build a wall around Jerusalem were the Jebusites and they did these 4500 years ago. However they inadvertently left the Gihon springs outside the walls. They then cut an underground secret tunnel to the spring in order to be not cut off from water supply should they be attacked by an enemy. It was near the spring that they also cut the first gate of Jerusalem so that in times of peace the water could be easily carried into the city.

The map indicating the gates of Jerusalem

Over a period of time Jerusalem had more than 50 gates each named for the everyday commerce they allowed, such as the sheep gate or horse gate and even the water gate. There were gates named for prophets and tribes of Israel and there were gates named to the places to which they lived. Over the centuries new gates were cut which later disappeared. The ruins of new entrances are constantly being located in excavations in the city.

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