This photo gallery illustrates some of the principal features of Hadrian’s second-century entryway and of the plaza that adjoined it within the city. Both have been excavated and restored as a museum. Until recently, everything seen here lay buried beneath Damascus Gate, or, in the case of the Roman paving stones, beneath the Moslem Quarter of the Old City, just inside the gate.

The eastern side-archway, which R. W. Hamilton partially excavated in the 1930s, gave the first evidence that remains of the earlier, long-hidden entryway built by Hadrian awaited discovery. Holes for the door hinges, and square recesses for the wooden beams once used to bolt the door, can still be seen, although they are not visible in this photo. The eastern archway now serves as the entrance to the excavation museum and to the remains of the original plaza.

Filled in and forgotten for 800 years, the room in the eastern tower of Hadrian’s gate features superbly preserved walls built of huge ashlars, many measuring 5 or 6 feet long and nearly 3 feet high. Hadrian’s builders apparently took these stones from the ruins of Herodian structures destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.—perhaps from the Temple Mount itself—for the stones are dressed in the distinctive Herodian style, characterized by flat, raised centers and neat, narrow margins. The room joins the vault of the eastern entryway via a short corridor, and contains a stairway (not shown) that leads up to the ramparts. A third entrance, now blocked, originally led directly into the room from the city. An olive press found in the room testifies to a later time when the room served as an olive-oil factory.

An olive press, used to crush olives for the production of olive oil, is exhibited inside the eastern tower. During his excavation of the eastern tower, the author found the 7-foot-diameter lower stone, on which the olives would have been spread, as well as the rolling crusher stone. The wooden parts were reconstructed. This olive press dates to the time when the eastern tower served as an olive-oil factory, between the fifth and tenth centuries A.D.

Roman paving stones from the gateway plaza in Hadrian’s day, still in their original positions, exhibit grooved surfaces, intended to prevent horses from slipping. Part of the plaza pictured on the Madaba map, the stones range in size from 4 by 5 feet to 5 by 7 feet. Now enclosed within the Damascus Gate museum, the large plaza stones and the elegantly carved limestone architectural fragments displayed here are reminders of the former grandeur of Hadrian’s city.

Confusing remains of the western gateway. The original staircase leading from within the western tower to the ramparts begins just beyond the modern stairs on the left. The former entrance at right, to the western tower from the western gateway is now blocked; but the stairs, far right, lead to an excavated passage, not part of the original structure, that joins the two towers. The waffle roof, upper right, is a modern, concrete construction.