Sing: Marching to Zion, UMH 733
The location and name "Zion Gate" appear on maps dating back to the 12th century. It is
one of eight gates in The Old City wall. Located between Mount Zion and the Armenian Quarter, the gate was the setting for fierce fighting during the 1948 war.
The ridge on which this gate sits is the third high point to be called Zion. The original Zion was in the City of David which is east of this location. The second Zion was where Solomon built the first Temple, today’s Temple Mount or Mount Moriah. The true summit of today’s Mount Zion is inside The Old City near the Citadel. But it is the area just outside the Zion Gate that is considered Mount Zion today. This was very confusing to me before I found the explanation in my reading at www.seetheholyland.net.
Close to the Temple Mount and facing the ancient City of David and the Shiloach (Siloam) spring, the original gate was probably well traversed. The gate is at the lowest point of the walls, and was probably used for removing refuse and possibly ashes from the Temple. A major drainage tunnel near the gate, more than 1,965 feet long and dating back at least to Herod's days, has recently been discovered and cleared and opened for tourists.
The Ottoman-built gate was small and narrow, the upper arch of which is still visible above today's gate. In 1952, during Jordan's occupation of The Old City, the gate was widened to permit vehicles to enter. The opening was reinforced with cement posts. The gate was renovated by Israel after 1967 to match the Ottoman stone and design.