The Golden Gate is located in a turret protruding from the eastern wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. The two arched portals of the Golden Gate are now mortared closed, but if you could walk through them, you would find yourself on the Temple Mount, which is located in the southeastern corner of the Old City. In short, the southern part of the eastern wall of the Old City is also the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, and if it were open, the Golden Gate would lead into the Old City directly onto the Temple Mount.

On the interior (western side) of the Gate is an elaborate structurethat includes domed chambers that may be entered from steps leading down from the Temple Mount.

Outside the Golden Gate is a Moslem cemetery. It covers the slope down to the Kidron Valley (also called the Valley of Jehosaphat).

In the drawing below, we see, above ground, the Golden Gate and the eastern wall. We also see several structures below ground—in particular, the sealed Lower Gate below the Golden Gate, an underground eastern wall, and a massive curving wall in front (east) of the Lower Gate.

The author of this article stumbled into the large tomb in front of the left portal of the Golden Gate. At the bottom of the tomb, on the face of the wall, he observed wedge-shaped stones, indicating the top of an arch. In the drawing above, the stones that he actually saw are drawn in solid lines inside the tomb. If the partial arch he saw is, in fact, complete, it forms an arched gateway exactly under the left portal of the Golden Gate. Presumably, a similar arched portal is under the right portal of the Golden Gate, thus forming a double-portaled Lower Gate. Except for the stones in the left arch of the Lower Gate that were actually observed, the Lower Gate is drawn with dotted lines to show that it is a reconstruction.

The Lower Gate was built on a stone foundation and was set into an earlier city wall. The present 16th-century A.D. wall was built on top of this earlier wall. Two to three courses of this earlier wall may still be seen above ground level and are shown in the drawing as rectangular stones with rough, projecting faces and three-to six-inch margins around their edges. These stones are much larger than and different from the masonry in the wall built on top of them.

To see the earlier, largely underground wall from another viewpoint, look at the cross-section drawing.

This drawing shows a vertical slice through the present eastern wall of the Old City at the point where the Golden Gate leads into it. In this cross-section drawing, the courses of the earlier wall are numbered. Courses numbered 1 and 2 are seen above ground on the right and left (outside and inside) of the Golden Gate. They can indeed be seen even today. Courses numbered 3 and 4 are underground, but are above the arched entrances of the Lower Gate. Courses numbered 5 through 10 form the rest of this lower wall into which the Lower Gate was built. The floor of the Lower Gate is at the bottom of course number 10. Courses 11 through 17 form the foundation wall, which was underground even when the Lower Gate was above ground. Course number 17 sits on bedrock. A less massive wall built by Suleiman the Magnificent (1537–1541) sits on course number 1 of the earlier wall.

Return now to the first drawing. Forty-one feet below ground level and 46 feet in front of the eastern wall of the Old City is a wall discovered in 1867 by Captain Charles Warren. Warren encountered the wall after he sank a shaft 143 feet east of the Golden Gate and then burrowed westward underground along bedrock toward the Temple Mount. This underground wall obstructed his progress, so he tried to chisel through it in order to reach the Old City wall. After penetrating 5.5 feet into the underground wall and failing to come out on the other side, he decided to tunnel south to try to get around the wall. After tunneling 14 feet south without coming to the end, Warren turned around and dug north for 55 feet until an earthfall in the tunnel stopped him. Shortly before he was forced to stop tunneling, Warren observed that this underground wall obstructing his progress had started to curve west toward the Golden Gate and the Old City wall.

Warren further observed that the masonry in this curving underground wall resembles the masonry of the earlier Old City wall exposed above ground in courses numbered 1 and 2 on either side of the Golden Gate. It also resembles the masonry in the seven lower courses immediately north of the Straight Joint.

The author uses these comparisons of masonry to try to date the earlier wall and the Lower Gate that was built into it.