Khan Sha’ar Hagai is an Ottoman era caravanserai that served travelers commuting between Jaffa and Jerusalem. in 2020 the Khan was turned into an innovative visitor center focusing on the 1948 battles in the area.
History of Khan Sha’ar Hagai
Known in Arabic as ‘Bab el-Wad’ (Gate to the Ravine), Sha’ar Hagai was a resting spot about half-way between Old Jaffa and Jerusalem. It was at the transitional point from the coastal plain to the ascent towards Jerusalem. In 1873 a road station (khan) was opened at the site. According to Jewish novelist Shai Agnon, it offered refreshments, but also charged those who declined. By the 1920’s motorcars and the train service provided a faster commute to Jerusalem. The khan went out of use and was left abandoned. In 1948 Arabs ambushed Jewish convoys passing through the treacherous road between Sha’ar Hagai and Jerusalem. The Khan remained unused but became associated with the Jewish convoys passing next to it, eager to brings supplies to the Jews in Jerusalem.
After years of neglect, in late 2020 a heritage center was inaugurated at the site. This new institute provides an exciting moving presentation of the 1948 battles on the road to Jerusalem. It tales the story of the Palmach, and other fighters, risking their lives in caravan escort, determined to braek through besieged Jerusalem.
Touring Khan Sha’ar Hagai
Today, Khan Sha’ar Hagai visitor center is a national park. Its visitor center has an entry fee, and should be pre-booked. It is open every day of the week, from 8:00 to 17:00. Visiting Khan Sha’ar Hagai should be combined with a visit to ‘Givat Hahatulah Lookout’, and drive along the Burma Road.
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