SHAFAQNA- Damascus was the focus of attention of the invaders throughout the ages. At the beginning of the Greek era, Damascus were surrounded by a wall of huge stones in which doors were opened for entry and exit. In the Roman era, the wall was maintained and seven doors appeared in relation to the seven planets known at the time.
Seven Damascus gates
The seven Damascus gates are located on the Damascus wall, and these doors were enlarged and reduced according to military necessity. Some of them were destroyed and others were built in the successive covenants. Several others were also destroyed and closed during the days and years. The main task of Damascus’ walls and doors was linked to the security of the people. It was a powerful means of defense to repel the aggressors from strangers and invaders from Damascus and its people. The symbols of these planets were carved on the gates because they believed that they protect the city.
Parts of the wall were destroyed in 749 AD by the Abbasids, and the wall began to collapse. Then it was refortified in 1174 AD during the reign of Nur al-Din al-Zanki, and new doors were opened, including Bab al-Faraj and Bab al-Nasr. The main doors of Damascus are only seven: the door of Thomas, Bab al-Faradis, Bab al-Jabiya, Bab al-Saghir, Bab Qaysan and Bab al-Sharqi.
Many historians, led by the famous Damascus historian Ibn Asaker, Hassan al-Badri and Muhammad Ezzeddine al-Sayadi, describe the ancient doors of Damascus and their relation to the planets, and that the seven gates of Damascus are connected with the seven planets.The door of peace linked to the moon, the door of the butterfly connected with Mercury, the door of the jubilee is associated with Mars, the small door is connected with the Jupiter, and the door of the sacrament is associated with Saturn.
Ibn Asaker said of Damascus: “It was built on the seven planets and made seven doors on each door of the image of the planet.” Ibn Asaker continued, quoting Abu al-Qasim ibn Muhammad: “The builder of Damascus made every door to one of the seven planets and engraved on it His image made an eastern door to the sun, the door of Thomas to the flower, the door of the small to the buyer, the gate of the gate to Mars, the door of the Ferris, to Mercury, and the door of Kisan to Saturn, and the door of peace to the moon. ” The symbols of these planets were carved on the gates because they believed that they protect the city.
Seven Sham Doors:
1) Bab Al-Faradis – “The Gate of Paradise”. Known commonly as Bab Al-Amara, this gate was given its name because of its proximity to numerous water sources and lush gardens. It was rebuilt and restored during the reign of King Salih Najmuddin Ayoub in 1241, now submerged by residential blocks and commercial markets. It is located on the northern side of the Old City, built by the Romans and attributed to Mercury, This name refers to a locality that was outside the wall called Al-Fardais.
2) Bab Al-Salam : Bab Al-Salam is one of the seven Roman gates of Old Damascus. Located to the north of the city, it was originally dedicated to the Moon by the Romans.
3) Bab Touma : Bab Touma , Located in the north-eastern corner of Old Damascus, built during the Roman era and attributed to Venus, and then bore the name “Thomas” one of the disciples of Jesus peace be upon him.It was renewed in the era of Nur al-Din in the year 536 AH.
4) Bab Sharqi : It was originally referred to as the “Gate of the Sun” but its common name derives from its location to the east of the city. It extends from Bab Sharqi to Bab al-Jabiya, a straight road. It is the oldest and longest road in Damascus, so the Damascusites called it Souk al-Tawil.
5) Bab Al-Saghir: Bab Al-Saghir ,Located on the southern side of the old city near the neighborhood of the Shagur, is the smallest of the Damascene gates. It built and renewed by the Romans, and attributed by Greece before them to Jupiter. A religiously significant cemetery is located just outside the gate, where many companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are buried.
6) Bab Al-Jabiyah: Also referred to as the Gate of Jupiter, this gate, Located on the western side of the old city, which is one of the original seven doors, built by the Romans, opens onto Souq Medhat Pasha. The gate’s modern name dates back to the Omayyads and comes from the name of al-Jabiyah in the Golan Heights, which was then the capital of the Ghassanids, allies of the Roman Empire.
7) Bab Qaysan: One of the most famous sections of Damascus, which still has parts of it, dates back to the Umayyad period.It is located near the airport roundabout and Bilal al-Habashi Mosque, adjacent to the east by St. Paul’s Church.The door, known as this name, was removed as a door to the Church of St. Paul in 1939. It is a witness to the history of Damascus and the intertwined Damascene society. It is a graveyard for Muslims and the tomb of Bilal al-Habashi, which became a mosque and a religious institute.
Seven gates of Damascus reflect the early civilization in the oldest inhabited city in the world, and protect behind it a Damascene history that simulates many civilizations which crossed from Damascus.
After years of unjust war against Syria and the unjust and immoral blockade, the doors of Damascus will remain open to all visitors.