|Old City of Damascus|
Bab Sharqi (Arabic: باب شرقي; "The Eastern Gate"), also known as the Gate of the Sun, is one of the eight ancient city gates of Damascus, Syria, and the only original Roman gate still standing. Its modern name comes from its location in the eastern side of the city. The gate also gives its name to the Christian quarter surrounding it. The grand facade of the gate was reconstructed in 1960s.
The Gate of the Sun, as it was known in Roman times, dates back to ca. 200 AD. The gate had little defensive structures, but it was probably flanked by towers from both sides. Its architecture was minimal with the only adoration being the tall pilasters. The gate, 26 metres (85 ft) wide, stood over a grand avenue, the Street Called Straight, which was to become the main artery in the city. The avenue included a central carriageway for wheeled vehicles 14 metres (46 ft) wide, and two pedestrian arcaded pavements. Remains of the cross-city colonnade survive inside the gate. The Street Called Straight, still connects the eastern gate of the city to the western gate, or Bab al-Jabiyah.
Damascus was conquered by Muslims during the Rashidun era. During the Siege of Damascus, the Muslim general Khalid ibn al-Walid, entered Damascus through this gate in 18 September 634. The gate, along with many Roman tripartite gates, was considered undesirable from a military point of view. In the 12th-century during the reign of Nur ad-Din Zangi, the gate was partially blocked except for the central opening which was converted into a bent entrance. A minaret was also added on top of the gate.
- Burns, Ross (2005). Damascus: A History. Routledge. pp. 55–56. ISBN 0-415-27105-3.
- Wallace, Richard; Williams, Wynne (1998). The Three Worlds of Paul of Tarsus. Routledge. p. 163. ISBN 0-415-13592-3.
- Burns, Ross (2005). Damascus: A History. Routledge. p. 99. ISBN 0-415-27105-3.
- Tabbaa, Yasser (1997). Constructions of Power and Piety in Medieval Aleppo. Penn State Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-271-01562-4.
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