Lions’ Gate, Jerusalem

Lions’ Gate, Jerusalem

The Lions’ Gate takes its name after the pairs of stone animals carved into the design. Legend has it that sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who built the wall around Jerusalem in the 16th century, had a nightmare in which he saw lions about to devour him as he had failed to secure defenses for this part of the citadel.

Waking up, he ordered a wall to be built with the lions placed at the city gate. There are speculations as to whether the carvings are actually lions and not panthers, in which case they may depict animals from the crest of the Mameluke sultan Baybars, and thus be part of an older building.

Another name for this point of entry is “Bab Sitt Maryam” and it refers to Mary, mother of Jesus. Legend has it that she has been laid to rest somewhere around the Kidron Valley. In Christian tradition and lore, this gate is also known as St. Stephen's, the first Christian martyr who was stoned to death. On a Palm Sunday, there is a procession recreating the historical route of Jesus from Scripture, passing through the gate from the Mount into the Old City.

The Arabic name for the gate is "Meshikuli", which in more modern terms means “wicket” – a small opening in a wall – through which, back in the day, people could watch those approaching and, in case of attack, pour boiling oil or tar onto the enemies' heads.

Why You Should Visit:
Impressive and incredibly well-preserved historic sight, considering it has never been restored!

Tip:
Can get crowded, especially on Fridays, because of the influx of Muslims coming for prayer at the nearby al-Aqsa Mosque.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Jerusalem. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Lions’ Gate on Map

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Armenian Quarter Walking Tour

Armenian Quarter Walking Tour

Smaller and quieter than the Old City's other three quarters, the Armenian quarter contains a series of winding cobblestoned streets and alleyways teeming with people, shops, coffee stands, ceramic workshops and hookah bars. A city in miniature with distinct language, alphabet and culture, it has been in place since the 4th century, when Armenia adopted Christianity as a national religion.
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Jerusalem Old City Walking Tour

Jerusalem Old City Walking Tour

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, the Old City of Jerusalem is best explored on foot, since its narrow streets and alleys make it almost an entirely vehicle-free zone. In addition to hosting four ethnic quarters, – Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian – it is packed with major historical and religious sites, which all make a trip here unique, unforgettable and not to be missed.

The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Mount of Olives Walking Tour

Mount of Olives Walking Tour

Aside from affording great views over the Old City, the Mount of Olives is home to half a dozen major sites of the Christian faith along with the oldest Jewish burial ground in the world. Considered a holy spot by many, it is associated with numerous events in Jesus’ life including ascending to Heaven and teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer.

The following self-guided walking tour will...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour

Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour

Considered for centuries to be the center of the universe, Jerusalem is where the most famous figure in history, Jesus of Nazareth, fulfilled his divine mission by carrying a cross from the place of Pontius Pilate’s sentencing to Golgotha where he was crucified. This self-guided tour will retrace the steps of Jesus, allowing you to see what many consider some of the holiest places on our planet....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Bethlehem Walking Tour

Bethlehem Walking Tour

Perched on a hill at the edge of the Judaean Desert, Bethlehem has been known to the world, for more than two millennia, as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. The “star of Bethlehem” as well as Christmas carols and hymns are firmly associated with this ancient city in the West Bank, Palestine, and thus, for some visitors, the bustle of a modern city may come as a surprise.

Undoubtedly, the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Muslim Quarter & Temple Mount Tour

Muslim Quarter & Temple Mount Tour

The largest, most populous and perhaps most chaotic of all Jerusalem’s quarters, the Muslim Quarter is worth exploring for its unique atmosphere. Spending a day here may take you back to a simpler time, but be prepared for many sights and sounds as you pass many vendors, stores and restaurants on your way from site to site.

Some of the city’s most interesting city gates (Damascus and...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem is a mosaic of neighborhoods, reflecting different historical periods, cultures, and religions. The influx of repatriates in recent years has made the cultural and artisanal scene of the city even more colourful and diverse. To find your way through Jerusalem's intricate...