Jerusalem Old City Lions Gate 001

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  • Title:  Jerusalem Old City Lions Gate 001
  • Description:  The Lions' Gate is located in the Old City Walls of Jerusalem, Israel and is one of seven open Gates in Jerusalem's Old City Walls.

    Located in the Eastern Wall, the entrance marks the beginning of the traditional Christian observance of the last walk of Jesus from prison to crucifixion, the Via Dolorosa. Near the gate’s crest are four figures of leopards, often mistaken for lions, two on the left and two on the right. They were placed there by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent to celebrate the Ottoman defeat of the Mamluks in 1517. Legend has it that Suleiman's predecessor Selim I dreamed of lions that were going to eat him because of his plans to level the city. He was spared only after promising to protect the city by building a wall around it. This led to the lion becoming the heraldic symbol of Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem already had been, from Biblical times, the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, whose emblem was a lion (Genesis 49:9).

    Israeli paratroops from the 55th Paratroop Brigade came through this gate during the Six-Day War of 1967 and unfurled the Israeli flag above the Temple Mount.

    Historian Moshe Sharon notes the similarity of the sculpted lions to similar pairs at Jisr Jindas and Qasr al-Basha in Gaza. All represent the same Sultan: Baybars. Sharon estimates that they all date to approximately 1273 C.E.
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  • Keywords:  Gate, Lions, City, Old, Jerusalem
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