Jerusalem … from the biography of its gates in farewell to its month | Palestinian women

“And I command you to spend the spoil for the decoration of Mecca and Medina and to fortify the fortress of Jerusalem in order to drive back the disbelievers from them when they try to take Jerusalem during the covenants of your descendants. And you must decorate the sanctuary by building an aquarium in it, and the dervishes in it give annual gifts of money and decorate the Dome of the Rock and rebuild Jerusalem “.

This was a dream for the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. With the authority of Evliya Chalebi, the Prophet came to the Sultan in that dream, urging him to fortify the city of Jerusalem, as Chalebi adds in his narration saying that “Solomon arose from his sleep and sent from his booty a thousand sacks. in the city and a thousand other bags in Jerusalem, then the brilliant architect Khoja Sinan was sent. With the necessary materials to Jerusalem. ”This was – according to the Turkish traveler Evliya Celebi – the story of the Ottoman Sultan who built the wall of the city of Jerusalem, who exists to this day.

Ottoman sultans have always legitimized their sultanate in the country since the sixteenth century AD. The construction of the Jerusalem Wall was one of the largest and most luxurious construction works in Jerusalem and Palestine in general. Jerusalem was not threatened at that time by enemies – as the quote from the sultan’s dream included – so that the city could be surrounded by its own wall. However, another story with social dimensions for the motive of building the wall says that “the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem asked the Sultan to surround their city with a wall, so that the villagers of the neighboring villages would not enter it as they wished. ! “

Occupation closes Bab al-Amud Square (Getty Images)

In any case, regardless of which of the two stories is the motive for the construction of the wall by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, the wall of Jerusalem has become the face of the city, not only urban but also civilized, which refers to the viewer. the identity of Arab and Islamic Jerusalem over hundreds of years to the present day.

As for the famous architect Al-Khoja Sinan, with whom the greatest urban projects of the Ottoman Empire were associated, including what was rumored to be the one who designed and built the wall of Jerusalem, in a recent study by the Jerusalem scholar Youssef Al. -Natsheh in Bab Al-Amoud [1]Regarding its construction in the construction of the wall, Natsheh rejects the common narration among some interested and scholars, about the construction of the talented architect Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, Khoja Sinan Pasha, about the wall of Jerusalem and his design for the Damascus Gate . . With the memorial status contained in this section – historical, architectural and artistic, which in fact fades all the gates of the city and Palestine in general in the face of its prestige and dominance, according to Natsheh.

Natsheh tends to answer the question: Who designed Bab al-Amoud? In another hypothesis he puts forward with the belief that the designer of Bab al-Amoud is an architect belonging to the city of Aleppo in the Levant, who came to Jerusalem and settled there. He is the architect, Al-Moallem Darwish Al-Halabi. According to his belief, Natsheh relies on the three pillars that al-Halabi favored over Sinan Pasha in the design and construction of Bab al-Amud, which are:

The Ottoman urban heritage in Jerusalem belongs to the Mamluk traditions and methods according to which the Ottomans continued to build.

Based on the observations of Meinecke, who studied the architecture of Jerusalem, the architectural teams that worked on the design of the doors in cities like Aleppo and Cairo were from the Arab metropolises of Aleppo and Cairo, and are therefore the same architectural teams they built in Jerusalem. due to the similarity of the door arches of the Al-Subat (Tribes) and Hebron columns, with those gates in Aleppo and Cairo in terms of design and decoration.

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Natsheh then refers to Jerusalem court records that partially support Mayneka’s conclusion, as the records show the names and origins of seventeen architects who came to Jerusalem and were active during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, including 12 from Syria and seven of them. from the city of Aleppo, some of whom bore titles such as “Architecture on the Wall of Jerusalem.” And “The Teacher of Mawlana Sultan.” The name of Darwish al-Halabi was mentioned among the names of Alpine architects who came to Jerusalem. at that time, and he bore the sensible title “Teacher of Mevlana Sultan with Fence.” [2].

Finally, in his study, Natsheh compares the ornate decorative elements in Bab al-Amud, particularly the door arch cymbals, which do not match any decoration on any other door in the entire Levant, except for some of the city’s doors. In Aleppo I found such a decoration in each of Khan al-Sabun, the Atrash mosque, the stair collector and others. It is likely, to a large extent, according to Natsheh, that the architect Darwish al-Halabi was the designer of Bab al-Amud and the wall of Jerusalem, not Khoja Sinan Pasha.

For the door war

Every gate in the walls of the city of Jerusalem has a name and a history, but the gates of Jerusalem also generate history. Bab al-Amoud remains on the threshold of the entrance to the old city, the last of which was the spark of the May gift, as the occupying forces tried to set up iron barriers to prevent the movement of Jerusalemites and Palestinians in general to enter. and reach the sanctuary. In addition to her attempt to impose her control over the square leading to the gate and evacuating it from her ranks by the Jerusalemites who considered the gate and her square their Ramadan-social space for meeting, communication and celebration.

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The Jerusalem conflict over the gates of their old city began in the movement of leaving it, not entering it, as has been done today under the Israeli occupation of the city. In the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, the Jerusalemites from within the wall insisted on leaving the city gates and building outside it, in the light of socio-political transformations with bourgeois-liberal polls, to rebel against the social control and security that life within the wall requires.Al-Maqdisi musician Wasif Jawhariyeh reported this in his memoirs.

As the Jerusalemites fight at the gates of their Israeli-occupied city for decades, it has been linked to entering and staying in the Old City, in light of relentless occupation attempts to threaten the Old City and evacuate it from the Jerusalemites. his. , thus preventing by various means and methods, the movement of the entrance from its doors towards it, especially Bab al-Amud.

In a study on the war at the gates of Jerusalem by scholar Nazmi Al-Jubeh [3]. Al-Jubeh shows the transformations that took place in the relations of the Jerusalemites with their gates during the modern conquest of the city, especially between Bab al-Amud and Bab al-Khalil before the latter closed.

The door is not simply a wall outlet to enter or leave the city, as the door is a lifeline for Jerusalemites and keeping it open means an economic and social life with the doors open and open for life. The fact that Bab al-Amud remains open to this day has maintained the stability of the city markets that lead to it, like the Bab al-Amoud market and the Khan al-Zayt market linked to the al-Attarin market. The vital blood of these markets to this day stems from the opening of Bab al-Amoud and the movement of entry from it.

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As for Bab Al-Khalil, who was also called the “Gate of Jaffa”, it has historically occupied a social and religious position due to its location in the northwest on the city wall and its connection to Jaffa on the one hand and the cities. of Bethlehem and Hebron on the other. From this door, religious processions on the feasts of the Nativity took place towards Bethlehem in solemn processions, in which foreign pilgrims mingled with the people of Jerusalem and the clergy, according to Al-Jubeh. From Bab Al-Khalil, the inhabitants of Jerusalem welcomed the procession of the inhabitants of Hebron who came on foot during the season of the famous visit of the prophet Moses.

In his study, Al-Jubeh says that an imbalance in door-dominance relations began to occur in the second half of the nineteenth century, which took the form of a decline in the importance of Bab al-Amud, the principal. the city gate, in favor of Bab al-Khalil, who was more closely associated with the gate of modernity that came to the city. The Hebron Gate remained so for a century, until the catastrophic catastrophe of 1948, when the door was closed with reinforced concrete, due to the impact of the catastrophe on the ceasefire line. After it was an open door and opened at the gate of modernity, the closed door of Hebron became a hindrance, referring to the Jerusalemites in loss, isolation and division [4]. To bring practical and symbolic weight together, at the door of the column to date.

The stories of the gates of the city of Jerusalem include an authentic part of the history of Arabism of the occupied city of Jerusalem, between the gates, whose arteries remained open and open after being militarized by the occupation, e.g. Bab al-Amud, and others who were stuck with cement, like Bab al-Khalil, and others whose names were distorted to resemble their invaders to flee from their people, as is Bab al-Sabbat. D. refer to the legends of the Jewish tribes and among the doors were those that remained open and closed in front of their people, mastering their sides they knew, like the Mughrabi Gate, which has become a door leading to the Jews. Neighborhood built on the ruins of the ruined neighborhood Mughrabi.


[1] A study by scholar Youssef Al-Natsheh, entitled: Was it designed by architect Sinan Bab Al-Amoud? Within a group of studies in a book entitled: The City of Al-Hajjaj, The Known and Al-Mahashi, Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Jerusalem, Institute for the Studies of Jerusalem, Jerusalem – Palestine, 2005.

[2]. Previous Reference, p. 33.

[3] A study by scholar Nazmi Al-Jubeh, entitled: Between Bab Al-Amoud and Bab Al-Khalil, The Door-to-Door War on the Modernity of Jerusalem, as part of a group study in a book entitled: The City of Pilgrims, Prominent and al- Mahashi, Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Jerusalem, Institute for the Studies of Jerusalem, Jerusalem – Palestine, 2005.

[4] Previous Reference, p. 83.

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