Mount of Olives

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Amanda on August 29, 2001

The Mount of Olives features heavily in Jewish and Christian traditions. Overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, it offers splendid views. One can easily imagine how in biblical days this was a spot to which people could withdraw from the bustle of the city and literally look at their lives from afar. From here Jesus ‘beheld the city and wept over it’ (Luke 19:41). It is no wonder that this hill should be considered somehow closer to God.

Various religious monuments are built into and onto the Mount, not least the Tomb of the Prophets, believed to be the burial site for the last three Old Testament prophets. Further down the hill is the Chapel of the Ascension, holy to the Christian faith as marking the spot of the ascension of Jesus to heaven 40 days after the resurrection.

Today, the Mount of Olives is most known as perhaps the holiest of Jewish cemeteries, which has been in use for over three thousand years. This site overlooking the Old City is such a desirable final resting place that the graves are now crowded together down the hillside, creating a rather unusual atmosphere of expectation and excitement. The expectation is, according to the Jewish faith, for the coming of the Messiah. As available land is quickly disappearing, discussions are taking place on how further numbers of devotees can be accommodated in the cemetery. Interesting proposals have included double-decker burials and vertical graves.

The Mount of Olives is a simple bus ride from a number of places in central Jerusalem and well worth a look and a wonder. Make your visit early in the day so that you can enjoy the panorama in the glow of the morning sun and without having to share it with too many (living) people.

Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives Road
Jerusalem, Israel
Not applicable

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