4,000-year-old 'Abraham's Gate' reopens

Tel Dan site underwent major restoration; Tradition says Biblical patriarch passed through gate during rescue of Lot.

abrahams gate renovation 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
abrahams gate renovation 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The nearly 4,000 year-old "Abraham's Gate" at Tel Dan in northern Israel has been reopened to the public after a decade-long restoration project, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said Wednesday. Located in a nature reserve at the foot of Mount Hermon and the Golan Heights, the ancient structure, which is believed to have been constructed around 1750 BCE, during the Canaanite Period, is made of mud-bricks. The gate, which could be named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO later this year, has been named after the Biblical patriarch since some people speculate it may have been used by Abraham during the rescue of his nephew Lot. The gate, which is composed of three arches and constructed of sun-dried mud brick on a foundation of large basalt stones, has been restored to its original height of seven meters, the state-run authority said. The arches of the gate are believed to be the oldest ever found in Israel. "The exposure of the gate to the public at large is a holiday for anyone who holds dear the preservation of heritage in the State of Israel," said Eli Amitai, Director General of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. The preservation work at the site was carried out in conjunction with the state-run Israel Antiquities Authority. The site has recently become an attraction for Christian pilgrims. The nature reserve encompasses the ruins and partially restored remains of an ancient Israelite city.