The Abbasid caliphs were keen to preserve the city of Baghdad through its gates, due to the defensive fortifications it represented against external attacks, and they did not leave the city to plunder the enemy’s spears. With this, the archaeological researcher Junaid Amer begins his discussion of the Middle Gate, the last remaining part of the Abbasid walls of Baghdad.
Amer indicates – in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that this gate is one of the 4 doors built by the Al-Mustazhir Caliph, God Almighty in 488 AH, but the term passed away prior to the completion of the construction, so that his son, the guided caliph of God, inherits the task of protecting and fencing the capital of the Abbasid caliphate at the time and fortifying it from penetration.
The capital’s wall was a semicircle located on the Tigris River, starting from the Bab al-Moazam area and ending in the Bab al-Sharqi area, and it had 4 gates, and its construction continued for 134 years, contemporaries ruled by a number of caliphs, but time and the successive invasions of the City of Peace were guaranteed to remove and demolish all the doors. With the exception of the middle door, which remained standing strongly and prestigious, near the tomb of Sheikh Omar al-Suhrawardi, east of Baghdad.
The Divine Door to Holaco
Amer confirms that the middle door or the Khorasan Gate as it is called – because it overlooks the east facing Iran – is the second gate of Abbasid Baghdad, and the first of its doors was the Sultan’s Gate, and it was separated from the Tigris River by 24 towers, and after it the door of the ring, then the Bab al-Basali gate.
The Iraqi researcher stresses that many of the invaders who managed to enter Baghdad initially wanted to storm the city from this particular gate, and did not succeed, including the Mongolian leader Hulagu, as he tried with all his power with his huge army to demolish it over and over, but did not succeed.
He continues his speech by saying that the time for closing the middle door was at the sunset call to prayer, and the convoys that arrived from faraway cities and countries at this time were forced to stay outside the city until the next day, until its gates were opened again at dawn.
In the twenties of the last century, this gate turned into a prison and remained so until 1936, when the ancient monuments of the Iraqi government restored it and turned it into a museum of old weapons, and in 1979 AD, restoration and construction work was done on it to leave it as it is.
The head of the archaeological “Ziusudra” organization, Ali Mahdi Salman, recalls the multiple names of this section exclusively because of its standing tall over the 9 centuries in which Baghdad embraced many societies and tribes, and says that Al-Zafariya is the original name of the gate, but it is a result of the shrinking of the inhabited area within the eastern walls of Baghdad. And then the demise of several shops, it became known by a new name, which is the middle door, in the middle of which is the old Baghdad wall, and Bab Baghdad and Bab Khorasan, and the Ottomans preferred to call it Bab Safed, which is an Ottoman Persian word meaning white.
Salman talks to Al-Jazeera Net about the people of the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate volunteering to build the gates of the wall, as they were able to invent several innovations to motivate some of them and accelerate the completion of construction, indicating that the people of one of the neighborhoods made a walking tanner in a hurry, and bakers bake and give people hot loaves. It was a great celebration of the wall and its gates.
Regarding the reasons that led to the demolition of all doors except for the middle door, the archaeological researcher Ali Mahdi confirms that the urban expansion and the wars of the Ottomans and the English caused the disappearance of those doors, and despite the exposure of the middle door to collapses due to time, the work of its maintenance and restoration continued in the thirties and seventies of the last century, and the last restoration was carried out His 2013 year within the Baghdad Capital of Arab Culture project.
The director of Al-Bab Al-Awsat website, the archaeological researcher Hassan Mahdi Abd, tells us that the site’s function was not only defensive against barbaric attacks against Baghdad, but also as an impenetrable dam that protected the city from the danger of floods and rain.
He continues, “And the door was a gate to a huge building that includes rooms for storing weapons and food, and it is suitable for soldiers to sleep as well, and there are stairs linking the entrance to the upper floor and then the roof that contains watchtowers with small holes from which arrows and shells are fired, and here its main mission, which is defense, is confirmed.” Or offensive. “
To talk about the door’s construction and its construction, which was made of plaster (gypsum) and bricks, archaeologist Hassan Mahdi describes its shape and details by saying that upon seeing the door from a high place it will be seen that it is cylindrical in shape, and there are narrow openings in the walls for shooting arrows against the enemy, and the Ottoman army used it for firing in the 16th century. .
Mahdi continues the description by saying that a pointed arch is above the door and stands over two pillars merging into the wall, and on each side of the arch there is a small lion carved out of bricks, and the geometric shapes appear interconnected to each other, to form two bands, which are divided into two parts, and form a hexagonal shape. The roof fence was built in a serrated shape, to leave openings for surveillance and observation.
On the eastern side, on the outer wall of the door, we will find a phrase engraved in naskh script, from which these lines remain, “His guiding call to religion is still standing, Islam as order, and his state, Cairo, is tranquility, and the nation has a position of peace with the radiance of Saad’s lights.”