Golden Gate

The Golden Gate

We give here a picture of the Golden Gate, because this is supposed to be the gate through which Christ entered Jerusalem. This is called in Arabic Bab el-Tabeyeh, the Gate of Repentance. It is in the east wall, and is in the center of a projection fifty-five feet long and five feet wide. The gate is double, and has semicircular arches; the entablature is sustained by Corinthian capitals, and is bent around the arch. The gate is now walled up, and the Moslems believe that they will retain possession of Jerusalem until some conqueror shall remove the obstruction from this gate and enter through the same into the city, hence this place is jealously guarded. (Source: Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee, p. 232.)

The Golden Gate-Exterior View

The Golden Gate, now shut up, is one of the most striking features of the eastern wall of the Haram; but the close observer can easily see that it has been inserted at a comparatively recent period. The debased Corinthian capitals that support the florid entablature of the double arch, bear no resemblance in style to the massive simplicity of the masonry on each side. The architecture of the interior towards the Haram is peculiar, having Corinthian and Ionic columns, with exaggerated capitals, supporting a groined roof. It may have been inserted about the time of Constantine, evidently, however, on the site of an older gate, the colossal monolithic jambs of which remain, and may be seen from the inside. (Source: Jerusalem, Bethany, and Bethlehem, p. 28.)

The Golden Gate of the Haram esh Sherif

On the east side of Haram esh Sherif is the "Golden Gate," called by Moslems the "Gate of Conversion or Penitence," and sometimes the "Gate of the Eternal" . . . .The floor of the Golden Gate is much below the level of the Haram, and the door which gives access to the interior is at the foot of a steep slope of rubbish. The roof is of comparatively late construction, but the body of the work is in a good state of preservation, the finer parts of the sculpture having been protected by a coat of plaster, which was at some time put on to conceal it. A quasi-classical cornice runs along the wall on both sides of the interior. The style is identical with that of the decorated arch over the "Double Gate," and also with the portion of an old cornice which is built into the façade of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre . . . .Externally the entire entablature, architrave, frieze, and cornice are bent, as at Spalatro, and arching from pillar to pillar-a peculiarity which is said not to be found in any building after the fourth century. (Source: Picturesque Palestine, vol. 1, pp. 69-70.)

The first point of interest in the east wall of the Haram esh Sherif is the Golden Gate, an entrance to the sacred enclosure which has long been closed, in consequence of a Moslem tradition that when the Christians capture Jerusalem they will make their triumphal entry by it . . . .The two free-standing columns in the interior are said by Moslem tradition to have been brought on her shoulders by the Queen of Sheba as a present to King Solomon. Through the gateway itself, at the last day, the good will pass on their way to the houris of Paradise, after having safely crossed the Kedron on that bridge which is sharper than the sharpest sword; and through the same portal, according to a very generally received belief, the Christian prince who retakes Jerusalem will make his public entry. The belief that the Christians will recapture the city, and that their own tenure of the country is drawing to a close, is widely spread amongst the Moslems in Palestine. (Source: Picturesque Palestine, vol. 1, pp. 46, 70.)