Part of the distinctive charm of Jerusalem’s Old City is the myriad of mighty gates that guard its entrances. Around the nearly 3-mile-long fortified perimeter of the Old City, 11 gates watch over the city’s narrow streets and passageways, although only seven of these are now open.
Of the seven functioning gates that can be visited today—the Damascus Gate,a the Jaffa Gate, the Lions’ Gate, the Dung Gate, the Zion Gate, Herod’s Gate and the New Gate—all but the last one were constructed, along with the current city walls, in 1538 by the Ottoman ruler Suleiman the Magnificent. The New Gate, found in the northwestern corner of the Old City, was created in 1887 to allow pilgrims and church officials more direct access to the Christian Quarter.
The four remaining gates—the Single Gate, the Double Gate, the Triple Gate and, most famously, the Golden Gate—are all to be found along the southern and eastern walls of the Temple Mount. The Single Gate was built by the Crusaders, but the multiple-entry Double and Triple gatesb—also known as the Western and Eastern Huldah Gates, respectively—were originally built by King Herod and gave direct access to the Temple compound via underground passageways. All three gates were walled-up in 1187 after Saladin’s conquest of Jerusalem.