A five-year project to conserve and rehabilitate the gates and walls of Jerusalem's Old City has been completed, the Prime Minister's Office announced on Monday.
The final portion of the project was the preservation and stabilization of Lions' Gate, the last of the Old City's seven open gates to be renovated in recent years by the Israel Antiquities Authority's Conservation Department.
This was done as part of a comprehensive project initiated and funded by the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Prime Minister’s Office.
The project focused on conserving the walls, which were built in their current form in the mid-16th century by Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I. Every stone in the walls was photographed, documented and studied.
“The walls were cleaned and stabilized for the visitors to the city while maintaining their authenticity and original appearance," said Aner Ozeri, a Jerusalem Development Authority official. "We will continue working to improve the appearance of the Old City and its preservation.”
Ra'anan Kislev, the head of the Israel Antiquities Authority's Conservation Department, said that the project was "one of the most complicated, largest and important ever conducted in the country."
"Now that we have removed all of the soot and vegetation, the safety hazards presented by the deteriorating stone have been treated and the structural components have been restored, the public visiting Jerusalem can enjoy the splendor and strength of the walls, just as people enjoyed them when the walls were built five hundred years ago,” Kislev said.