Zion Gate is located on the Southern side of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is one of eleven gates which led into the Old City. Today many of these gates are sealed. The Zion Gate leads directly into the Jewish and Armenian Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem. In Arabic, Zion Gate is known as Bab Al-Nabi Daud.
In the modern era, the Zion Gate is best remembered for its role during the establishment of the State of Israel. In 1948, during the War of Independance, members of the Palmach used the Zion Gate to enter and gain command over the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. British Mandate officers presented members of the local Jewish community with a key to the Zion Gate in May of 1948, to signify the end of British rule over the Old City of Jerusalem. Zion Gate later fell under Jordanian control in 1948. From then, no access was granted through the gate until the Israel Defense Forces entered and once again took control over this historical gate during the Six Day War in 1967.
Today, the Zion Gate offers Old City access to both pedestrians and vehicles. Original carved letters can still be made out, indicating Sultan Suleiman, who was Zion Gate’s original benefactor. Additionally, bullet holes and pockmarks from the 1948 battles are still visible in the stones, testifying to the role that the Zion Gate played during the War of Independence.