Enter the Jewish Quarter through this historic, battle-scarred gate, one of a series of entranceways built as part of Jerusalem’s 16th-century walls.
Zion Gate, also known as Gate of the Jewish Quarter, is one of the major entrances and exits to the walled Old City of Jerusalem. Admire the centuries-old gate, examine the scars from battles that took place here and learn about the history of the fortifications.
Read a small information plaque to learn about the history of Jerusalem’s historic fortifications. This gate, along with the rest of the present-day Old City walls of Jerusalem, were built between 1537 and 1541 under orders from the then Ottoman Emperor, Suleiman the Magnificent. The walls, which reach a height of more than 40 feet (12 meters) were designed to provide defense to the city, and encompass more than 30 towers as well as seven gates. The gate takes its name from the nearby Mount Zion.
Walk up close to the gate and inspect the surface of the stone. A key battle site during previous conflicts, including most notably the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, this gate is pockmarked with bullet holes.
Look for a mezuzah, a case containing extracts from the Torah on the gate’s edge. This particular mezuzah is said to have been made using bullet casings collected from around the gate.
Pass under Zion Gate to enter the Jewish Quarter. Walk north from the gate for around 10 minutes to reach the Tower of David, a historic citadel containing the Museum of History. Near here is Jaffa Gate, another historic entranceway to the Old City.
Not far south of Zion Gate sits King David’s Tomb, believed to be the burial location of King David. While here, be sure to see the Cenacle, also on Mount Zion. The Cenacle is the supposed site of the Last Supper, during which Jesus is believed to have dined with the apostles for the final time prior to the Crucifixion.
Find Zion Gate on the south side of Jerusalem’s old walls, not far from Mount Zion. Pass under the gate for free at any time of the day or night.