Plan of the City
The Ruins
Colonnaded Streets
Nabataean Remains
Civic Bulidings
Ecclesiastical Architecture
Moslem Architecture
Bosra Today



It has been remarked above that only two of the principal gates of Bosra are to be seen to-day: one is in an excellent state of preservation, the other is to be studied only in foundations. In addition to these, three smaller gates, or posterns, were dis­covered. The West Gate, or Bab il-Hawa (Gate of the Wind) as it is called by the Arabs, is one of the monuments that has attracted the notice of every visitor to the city (Ills. 200-201). It has been excellently published by Professor Brunnow, and my drawings (111. 202), which were made from my own measurements, serve only to cor­roborate his; they add nothing beyond a suggestion for the restoration of the upper part of the structure. For details on larger scale I would refer to the illustrations in Die Provincia Arabia. The plan of the gate is composed of two square towers with pilasters at all four angles, set, over 10 m. apart, to mark the ends of the opening in the wall, and, between the towers, a double arched entrance of smaller depth than towers, the arches being flanked on either hand by two pilasters and a niche. The two faces of the gate are almost precisely alike, the only differences being minor con­siderations of small measurements. The two photographs, and the parts of the drawings that are shown by shaded stonework, will give an idea of the state of preservation in which the gate stands. In the elevation which I have drawn, i. e., the West Face, the middle part of the gate alone is represented; only the corners of the towers and their pilasters appearing on either hand. . It will be observed that this middle part rises a full storey higher than the tops of the towers, the extra height being given by the tunnel vault which is still in place. This then constitutes the gate proper. It consists of three storeys, divided by string mouldings, the lowest storey containing


the wide opening" and its side walls ornamented with two pilasters and a niche on either side, a middle storey embracing the arch of the opening flanked by pilasters which are carried up from those below, and an uppermost storey which forms an Attic. This Attic is almost wholly conjectural, but the high tunnel vault behind it, shown in dotted lines, must have been faced in some manner, and a single stone in place on the right side of the west face shows that the pilaster at this point was carried up another storey. The arrangement can not be far from the original scheme. The cross section (A—B) illustrates (the manner in which the space between the arches ascends, without divisions of storeys, from the pavement to the high vault. Near the top of the wall between the arches, just within the east face, is a bracket pierced through with a hole which corresponds to a block with a socket in it just within the threshold. These features are found on both sides of the east opening, i. e., the arch toward the city, and are to be regarded as the fixtures for the hinges of the great doors by which the inner arch was closed. Each leaf of the doors was a rectangle, tall as the arch is high, hung from a round timber one end of which was inserted into the hole in one of the brackets, and the other into the socket below it, in the ancient fashion employed even for doors of stone in the Hauran. The doors, when opened, folded back into the spaces between the arches. It is not impossible that a floor was provided beneath the vault, forming a chamber above the entrance, in which some mechanism for opening and closing the great doors was set up. It would seem that the outer arch was not provided with doors. The ornament of the two faces of this double arched gate is exceedingly simple, so simple in fact that it fails to give details that are easily dated. The pilasters which constitute the main features of the decoration have no bases, and their caps are nothing more than the string mouldings broken out to cover the shafts. The lowest pilasters have thus a double cap, the lower of which (N) is a moulding that connects the two pilasters but is not carried to the end. of the wall, the upper (M) is the arch moulding which breaks out at its springing and is carried along as a string moulding as far as the walls of the towers. The moulding which forms the caps of the pilasters of the middle storey is the cornice of the towers, the uppermost moulding is conjectural. The niches are rectangular in plan and round topped. Their decorative features were applied in an unusual manner. Each is flanked by very plain and slender pilasters with simply moulded caps and bases, in the usual way ; but the mouldings of the three-piece arches are executed only upon the middle piece, or broad keystone. The face of this stone is set out from the face of the wall and is brought to a straight line above the arch mouldings to support a pediment composed of very simple mouldings. Upon the crown of the arch mouldings, and upon the apex and at both ends of the pediment, are carved small brackets, or pedestals, which resemble the bases for statues or other sculpture often seen in larger arches and pediments in Petra and Hegra. Indeed one can not fail to observe in these details a resemblance to the details of the rock-hewn façades of these two places, some of which are as early as the first century A.D. The absence of any details that belong strictly to any of the Classical orders, and the likeness of certain features to those of early monuments in Hegra, might incline one to assign a somewhat early date in the second century to this West Gate. The drawings of mouldings on larger scale here given (M and N) are not of ordinary profiles-, bu they are dry and hard and uninteresting, and this is perhaps the result of attempting to execute details of rather small scale in a material so hard as basalt.

The North Gate exists only in foundations. Almost all of its facing has bee removed to the present level of the soil about it; but it may be that excavations would reveal more of the structure. The general outline of the foundations which could not . be measured accurately and a small section of the facing (111 203) on the east side of its inner face are enough to show that this gate was essentially like the one just described The small gates which are to be seen in the west and north walls, an< which are shown in the Plan of the City, were narrow openings in the wall, as they are to-day. They are to be detected only by the finished ends of the walls on either side of them, and were probably arched in the thickness of the wall-, but must have been unornamented.

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