Damascus (Shechem) Gate, considered the largest and most beautiful entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City, has served in this capacity since Agrippa ruled during the first century BCE. As it stands today, the gate dates back to 1537. Crusaders referred to it as St. Stephen’s Gate, as it’s located not far from the site of Saint Stephen’s martyrdom.
Flanked by two towers, the gate serves as the main access point to the Old City from East Jerusalem, and once inside, visitors find themselves amid an authentic market in the Muslim Quarter where locals shop for clothing, crafts, spices, baked goods and other food items.
The Damascus Gate is located on the north side of the Old City. The area gets really crowded, so if you’re more than a little claustrophobic, consider entering the Old City through one of the other gates.