The Damascus Gate

The Damascus gate is located in the northern wall of the Old City of Jerusalem and is considered to be the most beautiful and magnificent gate of all. It is named after the main road that used to run from the gate to the city of Damascus. In Hebrew it is called Sha'ar Sh'chem because the road from this gate leads to the city of Shechem.

The gate was built in 1538 during the time of the Ottoman Empire by order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (the longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566; he restored the Jerusalem city walls, which are the current walls of the Old City of Jerusalem) on the ruins of a gate of the Roman period.

During the Crusader period, a gate on the same spot was called St. Stephen's Gate, because of its proximity to St. Stephen's Church.

The Arabs call the gate Bab el-Amud, the Gate of the Pillar, because during the Roman period a pillar topped with a sculpture of the Emperor was erected in the centre of the plaza, as was the custom in many Roman cities.

In the 1980s, the area outside the gate was renovated. Today it hosts a lively commercial market.

The stamp was issued in 1971, as part of a series featuring the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem and commemorating Israel's 23rd Independence Day. Designer: E. Weishoff.