Arched gates, also called “scales,” comprise a number of stone or marble columns that are linked together using arches. A number of arched gates surround the Dome of the Rock’s plateau on Al-Aqsa compound, each one of them connected to a staircase. In addition to facilitating worshipers’ accessibility to the 4-meter high plateau, the gates were built to serve a decorative function.
1) The Northwestern Arched Gate
The Northwestern Arched Gate was built by the Mamluk King Al-Ashraf Sha’ban in 778 AH/1386 AC, and was renovated in 926AH/1519 AC by the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It consists of two stone pillars that have two marble columns between them which are topped with arches.
2) The Western Arched Gate
The Western Arched Gate was built in 320 AH; however, its founder remains unknown. It consists of two stone pillars that have three marble columns between them which are topped with a number of arches.
3) The Southwestern Arched Gate
Prince Naser Ad-Din An-Nashashibi, the governor of Jerusalem during Sultan Qaitbay’s reign, supervised building this gate in 877 AH/1472- 1473 AC. It consists of two stone pillars that have two marble columns between them which are topped with three arches.
4) The Southern Arched Gate
This arched gate was first built during the Abbasid Era and renovated twice after that: once during the Fatimid Era and once by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1311/1893 AC. It consists of two stone pillars with three marble columns between them which are topped with a number of arches. The gate has a sundial that was carved in the middle of its southern façade in 1311 AH/1907 AC by Eng. Rushdi Imam, the architect of the Supreme Islamic Council, adding a distinguished feature to it that no other arched gate surrounding the Dome of the Rock has.
5) The Southeastern Arched Gate
This Gate was built in 421 AH/1030 AC during the Fatimid era. It consists of two stone pillars with two marble columns topped with three arches between them.