The Golden Gate

The Golden Gate is in the east wall of the Old City of Jerusalem, facing the Mount of Olives, and is the only closed gate in the walls of the Old City. The Jews call it Sha'ar Ha'Rakhamim, the Gate of Mercy. The Christians call it the Golden Gate. The gate has two arches; the northern one is the Arch of Repentance and the southern one is the Arch of Mercy.

In early times, Jews visited the gate to pray and for supplication. According to Jewish tradition, the holy presence of the Shechina departed through this gate, and it is through this gate that the Shechina will return. Jewish tradition says that the Messiah, too, will enter through the Gate of Mercy.

In Christian tradition, Jesus and his disciples came into the forecourt of the Temple through the Golden Gate, waving palm fronds and chanting verses from the Psalms. During the Crusader period, the entrance was locked with metal gates. It was opened twice a year: on Palm Sunday, in memory of Jesus entering the forecourt of the Temple, and on September 14th, in memory of the entrance of Heraclius who conquered Jerusalem from the Persians in 629 CE.

The Golden Gate was sealed by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century, during the building of the walls of the Old City, in order to prevent the return of the Jewish Messiah. For the same reason, the Muslims built a cemetery in front of the gate.

The stamp was issued in 1972, as part of a series featuring the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem and commemorating Israel's 24th Independence Day. It was designed by E. Weishoff.