Al-Silsilah Gate

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Known as the gate of David(Daud)in the early Islamic period, it is located above the far end of the wide transverse bridge connecting the residential area with the city of Jerusalem.The gate is mentioned under this name by early Muslim scholars such as Ibn al-Faqih and al-Maqdisi.Today, however, it is known as the David Gate, The Chain Gate, and the Iranquility Gate.Architecturally,the gate has double doorways,each measures 5.15 metres ,width;traces of the original semicircular openings still survive and the chamfered voussoirs of its arches are distinguished.Just inside the outer semicircular arches are two segmental arches, both of which cover the threshold of the door.Regarding the proportional system used in the construction of the door, it can be seen that the door was designed according to the ratio between width and height except for the height of the arch.The result of archaeological excavations by Ben-Dov and Bahat along the Western Wall of the settlement shed some light on the history of the gate.It confirms that it is located high above the main street adjacent to the Western Wall.This necessitated the construction of the bridge that led the Aksa to pass through this gate.
 Silsile Gate, known as today is one of the main gates of Harem-i Şerif and is located in the southern part of the western walls of Masjid al-Aqsa. The door is currently open and the date of its construction dates back to the Ayyubid period.It is a large door with two wings decorated with intertwined motifs on wood, and when its wings are closed, there is a small door on one of the wings that a person can enter. This door was renewed in the Ayyubid period in h.600 / m.1200. Silsile Gate is one of the double doors built side by side. It was built as a double door with the adjacent Sekine Gate. Today, only the Silsile Gate is open. It is the door used by the Muslims residing in the Şeref District and those who come to the old city in terms of the Gate of Al Hali. Historical madrasas right next to it,It is used by the Israeli police as a police station. It is one of the doors where Israel placed an X-Ray device in the events of 14 July 2017.


Description and History

It’s known today as Bab Al-Silsilah and Bab Al-Sakinah. It was considered the most beautiful of the Al-Aqsa mosque gates. It has two entrances, the northern one is called the Gate of the Sakinah (Tranqulitiy Gate) and the southern one is called the Gate of Al-Silsilah (Chain Gate) The entrance to the Gate of the Sakinah is closed and is not opened except for necessity. It worth to notice that the closure of the northern gate happened a long time ago, where the historian Al-Omari ( 746 AH /1345 CE ) mentioned that the northern gate had been closed. While the entrance to Bab Al-Silsilah is open, and it has an opening large enough for one person to enter when it is closed. Its construction was renewed in the Ayyubid period 1200 CE 600 AH during the reign of the great King Issa.


Archaeology

The results of archaeological excavations along the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque have shed some light on the history of this gate. Where it confirmed that it was located in an elevated position above the main street located adjacent to the western wall, which is the reason for building the bridge leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque through this gate, and based on that, it can be believed that this gate was built at the same time as the bridge that was built in the early Islamic period.


Chain Gate after 1967

This Gate is one of the three Gates that open alone for worshipers at the prayers of Isha’a and Fajr since the Israeli occupation in 1967. It is the closest gate leading to the Al-Qibli Musalla hall after the closure of the Maghriba Gate by the Israeli occupation. It is also the closest to the Al-Buraq Wall.


References

Al-Ratrout, H. (2004). The Architectural Development of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Islamic Jerusalem in the Early Islamic Period: Sacred architecture in the shape of ‘The Holy’. Al-Maktoum Institute Academic Press. pp.349-358.

Al-Hanbali, M. (1968). الأنس الجليل بتاريخ القدس والخليل[The honorable amiability in the history of Jerusalem and Hebron]. Al-Haydari Press Publications.

Al-Jallad, I. (2017). معالم المسجد الأقصى تحت المجهر [Al-Aqsa Mosque landmarks under the microscope]. Baytul Maqdis Center for Literature

Maruf, A. & Marei, R. (2010). Atlas Ma’alem Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa [Atlas of Al-Aqsa Mosque landmarks]. Al-Fursan institution

Al-Omari, S. (n.d.). مسالك الأبصار في ممالك الأمصار (Vol. 2).