Sha'ar HaGai, Bab al-Wad ("The gate to the valley"), is a very narrow area on the road that connects the lowlands to Jerusalem. Due to its unique location, a road hotel ("Khan") was established here during the Ottoman period. Later, during the War of Independence (1947-1948), the place was a ground for some challenging battles.
The interactive 45-minute visit tells about the convoys to besieged Jerusalem before establishing the state of Israel and during the War of Independence. The visitors participate in a decision-making game that simulates dilemmas and situations facing warriors and convoy leaders to Jerusalem.
Because the experience is primarily interactive and the size of the touring groups is limited, visitors must coordinate the visit at the Nature and Parks Authority website.
A bit of history: Ahead of the Austro-Hungarian emperor's visit to Jerusalem in 1869, the Ottomans paved a road connecting Jaffa to Jerusalem. The trip from Jaffa to Jerusalem took two days, and a roadside inn was built at Sha'ar HaGai, which was used to refresh the passengers and collect taxes. It worked until the First World War. The British later used the place as a roadside canteen. Following the Arab uprising of 1936-1939 and the Arabs' attempts to harm Jews traveling to Jerusalem, the British set up a police station there. Then, with the UN resolution of November 1947, which decided to split the Land of Israel to Arab and Jewish states, a war began on the road to Jerusalem. The Heritage Center tells the incredible heroic stories of the drivers and fighters who risked their lives to ensure food supplies to besieged Jerusalem.
At the end of the 19th century, the Kutne family from Jerusalem built an agricultural farm next to the Khan building. It is not currently possible to enter the building. According to the Nature and Parks Authority plans, it will be turned into a conference hall.
At the end of the tour, you can have fun in three restored cars from that period - a protected bus, a truck, and an armored vehicle. The kids love it very much.
🚻 Toilet and shop at the entrance.
🎫 Admission fees: Nature and Parks Authority rates (free for Matmon and Israel Pass cardholders)
🧭 Waze: Khan Sha'ar HaGai
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