The Old City had thirteen entrances and, therefore, gates. These were built for the purpose of protection by the Romans and were often destroyed and later rebuilt. Only one of these gates dating back to the Roman era remains; it is known as the Bab-ash-Sharqi. Other gates built at later stages include Bab-al-Farag or the Gate of Joy, Bab-al-Faradis, Bab-as-Salaama or the Gate of Peace built by the Ayubbids, which incidentally is considered the most beautiful of them all, and Bab-as-Saghir or the Little Gate.
Bab Kisan another gate is famous because of the myth surrounding it namely that Saint Paul was lowered from it in a basket by his followers to escape the wrath of the Jews whom he had angered by his preaching. The Old City is a wonderful district of Damascus; within it were three quarters, occupied by the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Such ghetto-ization of residents was a common feature of the Byzantine Empire and other periods of rule.