East Byzantine Gate

     In AD 395/96 Emperors Theodosius (r. 378-395) and Arcadius (r. 395-408) ordered the city to be encircled with fortifications. Thus, the gate on the Syria Street and the flanking square towers were built. Called the East Byzantine Gate it was built incorporating architectural blocks from Roman Imperial period monuments. The gate has two passageways: the north one is 1.90 m wide and was probably meant for pedestrians whereas the southern one is 2.90 m wide and meant for carriages. In later periods the northern passageway was cancelled. Excavations have shown that the area was filled up to the level of the porticoes following the destruction by the earthquake of AD 494.

North and South Towers
: The south tower measures 7.75x8.95 m and the north tower measures 7.15x8.95 m. These almost-square rectangular towers are built with double rows of cut travertine blocks, and in between is a filling of smaller travertine blocks. The south tower survives to a height of 3 m and the north tower to 3.70 m. Marble architrave, frieze, and cornice blocks were reused in their construction.

Restoration Work
: In 2008 it was planned to restore the towers using their original materials scattered around. The restoration work placed ten courses of the south tower and nine courses of blocks in the north tower raising them to 5-6 m in height. Furthermore, adjoining walls were also restored to show the wholeness of the fortification system. On the south side of the south tower blocks fallen in the earthquake during the reign of Focas (r. 602-10) were left in situ to show the destruction of the earthquake.

     The towers and the walls were built in the early fifth century and fell in the earthquake during the reign of Focas. After this destruction the area served as a quarry for ready-to-use material.
   



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