Beyond The Gates……..

Ancient city gates – those gigantic entryways, patiently clocking the footfalls of generations – hold a special fascination for me.

Set into heavy fortifications or floating on water, these gates were more than mere access points. Most were hubs of trade, places where city edicts were read out and hangings executed.

Some were symbolic and exclusive, based on cultural perceptions of purity. The right to cross those thresholds was determined by social standing or royal privilege.

But they were all, without exception, works of art. Declarations of the wealth and importance of the city state.

So they fascinate me, thrill me with the anticipation of discovering what lies beyond…….even if all that remains is just a frame, or a pile of stones.

Come walk with me through these portals to the past.

Qianmen Street, Beijing
Qianmen Gate (Forbidden city) framed by the colourful arch on Qianmen pedestrian street
Angkor Thom Gate
One of five grand entrances to the city of Angkor Thom. One in each cardinal direction and an extra Victory Gate on the East leading directly to the royal palace
Preah Ko, CAmbodia
Ruined gate to Preah Ko, (Sacred Bull) an 8th century temple in Hariharalaya (now known as Roulous), the first capital of the Khmer kingdom
Bab Zuweila, CAiro
Bab Zuweila is the last remaining Southern gate on the Fatimid walls of Cairo.
Hadrians Arch, Jerash
Hadrian’s Arch – built in 129 AD to mark Emperor Hadrian’s visit. It is now the main entrance to the ruins of Jerash.
Domitian gate, hieropolis
The Domitian Gate leading to the colonnaded main street of the Necropolis
Inti Punku or Sun Gate, the ancient access point to the Sanctuary of Machu Pichu.
Inti Punku or Sun Gate, the ancient access point to the Sanctuary of Machu Pichu.
Karnak Temple - Egypt
This avenue of Sphinxes leads from the quay to the temple’s enormous and unfinished entrance pylon
Otorii - Itsukushima
The Grand Gate on the water leading to Itsukushima shrine on Miyajima island.
Commoners were not allowed on the island for the longest time, and were expected to pass through the Otorii to worship at the shrine, whose floating structures ensured, these people stepped through a transitional threshold – between land and sky – thus safeguarding the sanctity of the sacred island from ‘defilement’!

Related articles:
Jake’s Sunday Post: Entrance
Crossing Thresholds
The Grand Gate On The Sea

Posted by

Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

62 thoughts on “Beyond The Gates……..

  1. Loved it. After looking at these beautiful architectural works, I just wonder about how it was back when they were built. Nice writing! 🙂

    1. Honoured to receive an award from you Judy….thanks once again.
      You are most welcome to use the awards showcase page format. I borrowed the idea from someone too 🙂

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.