It is important to note that the boundaries of city of Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah were very different, and much smaller, from modern times. Some gates had different names; other gates didn’t exist or exist now. The layout of the city went south into the City of David or Mount Zion rather than west towards what is known today as the Old City. Excavations of the Broad Wall are found near the center of the Jewish Quarter near the Hurva Synagogue.
The events in Nehemiah 8 are not some random occurrences in the history of Israel. They are a testimony to the restoration of the Feasts of Adonai to a people who had lived in exile for over 160 years. Though there was a first wave of Jewish return to Jerusalem 70 years after being taken captive, Ezra and Nehemiah were in the second wave 90 years later. It was during this time that the priests gathered the people together on the ‘first day of the seventh month’.