Zion Gate in Jerusalem is one of eight Gates of the Old City of Jerusalem. The name ‘Zion Gate’ is taken from the name of the mountain to which it leads; first appears on medieval maps. In fact, the first is the Crusader map of Cambria from 1150; preserved in the library of the city of Cambrai in France. There is where the gate is called Porta Montis Syon (‘Mount Zion Gate’). Also, a map from the beginning of the 13th century is kept in the library of the British Museum; in which the name Porta Syon already appears.
Zion Gate in Jerusalem During the Modern Wars
A few days after the declaration of independence, on the night of May 17-18, 1948, a platoon from the “Burglars” Battalion of the Harel Palmach Brigade occupied Mount Zion, following which it was decided to break into the besieged Jewish Quarter through Zion Gate. The next night, at two o’clock At night, a brigade of 24 fighters, under the command of David Elazar (“Dado”); broke through the gate.
But then Dado discovered that his soldiers, exhausted from long days of unrest, fell asleep while waiting for the explosion, and even the terrible noise could not wake them. After waking up, the fighters entered the Old City and joined the defense forces in the Jewish Quarter. Finally, the force was unable to hold his grounds and the Quarter was captured by the Jordanian Legion. After the armistice, Mount Zion, without the Zion Gate, became the front line of the State of Israel for 19 years during which it crossed Jerusalem the borderline with Jordan, until the unification of Old Jerusalem in the Six-Day War.
On my Jewish Quarter private tour, I like to pass through Zion Gate. The Gate is quite different from the rest of the eight gates. In other words, the gate is also a ‘turning gate’ which means it has a ninety-degree angle. You want to guess why? I let you think about it till our tour!