Jaffa Gate (also called Sha’ar Yafo- in Hebrew), is one of eight ancient gates of the historic walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The gate had also been named as the “Gate of the Friend”; or the “Gate of the Prayer”.
Jaffa Gate is the only one of the Old City gates’ that had been positioned at a right angle to the wall.
It could have been done due to defensive measures, so as to slow down any incoming attackers –or– to guide travelers into the direction of the Jaffa Road – the main road that had led, back then, pilgrims on their journey to and from the port of Jaffa, from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.
It is assumed that both Jaffa Gate and Jaffa Road had been named after the port of Jaffa, a port that had been of immense importance during ancient times.
Tradition-wise and based on the Bible (the Old Testament), Prophet Jonah had embarked on his sea journey from Jaffa port. Most pilgrims have arrived on their route to the Holy City via Jaffa port and gate, for many years.
Today, Highway 1, that connects Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, runs on these very same grounds, leading to Jaffa gate.
Several other names of the gate are have been known as:
The Gate of the Friend- according to Islam, the gate is named for Abraham, God’s beloved son, who was buried in Hebron (nearby). Hence, the gate is also called “Hebron Gate”.
Another name is “David’s Gate”, in honor of King David.
The gate’s stones are large, sand-colored blocks. The entryway is nearly 20 feet (6 meters) high and the wall rises another 20 feet above that.