Khan Sha’ar Hagai
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 halfway between Old Jaffa and Jerusalem. It was at the transitional point from the coastal plain to the ascent towards Jerusalem. In 1873, a Jewish family opened a road station (khan) at the site. According to Jewish novelist Shai Agnon, it offered refreshments but also charged those who declined.. By 1920, motorcars and the train service provided a faster commute to Jerusalem and the khan went out of use. 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 bring 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 and moving presentation of the 1948 battles on the road to Jerusalem. It tells the story of the Palmach and other fighters, who risked their lives in caravan escort and were determined to break through besieged Jerusalem.