THE MOUNT OF OLIVES IN JERUSALEM GUIDE
The Mount of Olives, stretching from north to south along the eastern wall of the Old City, is a landmark place not only for true Christians but also for true connoisseurs of ancient history. Ranked among the main attractions of Jerusalem and having a close connection with famous biblical events, it attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. Ordinary travelers who want to see with their own eyes the unsurpassed beauty of this region love to be here.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MOUNT OF LIVES IN JERUSALEM
The "Olive Mount", as the Mount of Olives is often called, is famous not only for its rich historical past but also for its impressive size. Its height is 826 m, which is much higher than the "growth" of other surrounding hills. This place is interesting from three different positions at once. First, important biblical events took place here. Secondly, the enormous steep walls of the mountain range reliably protect the Old City from the destructive neighborhood with the Judean Desert. And thirdly, a beautiful panorama opens from the top of the Mount of Olives, which is enjoyed with equal pleasure by both deeply religious people and ordinary tourists looking for new experiences.
The history of the Mount of Olives is closely related to the name of King David. According to one of the books of the Old Testament, it was on its slopes, overgrown with lush thickets of olive trees, that the then ruler of all Israel was hiding from the offspring who had turned against him. By the way, it was these trees that gave the mountain its second name. The next mention of the Olive refers to the New Testament. Religious scholars claim that it was here that Jesus Christ taught his disciples the word of God and it was from here that he ascended to heaven after his resurrection.
The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem consists of 3 peaks: the South or Mount of Seduction, on which the sanctuaries for the wives of Solomon were located, the Northern or Lesser Galilee, so named in honor of foreign wanderers staying in inns, and the Middle or Ascension Mountain. Nowadays, each of the points has its attractions, among which the Lutheran Center, the Ascension Monastery, and the Hebrew University campus can be noted.
Also, there is a Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, founded more than 3 thousand years ago, and several ancient tombs. It is considered a great honor to find a final resting place here, which is why most Jews prefer to bury their deceased relatives in this cemetery.
And one more remarkable fact! The road from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives is often called the "Sabbath path." The fact is that they are separated by exactly a thousand steps - this is how many God-fearing Jews can walk on Shabbat.
WHAT TO SEE ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES IN JERUSALEM
A large number of sacred places and architectural monuments are concentrated on the peaks and slopes of the Hill of Olives. Let's get acquainted with the most interesting of them.
TEMPLE OF THE LORD'S ASCENSION
The Temple of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives, erected in honor of the coming of Christ, is considered a holy place not only for Christians but also for followers of Islam. The date of its foundation is the end of the 4th century, but the first building was not preserved - it was destroyed in 613 during the war with the Persians. The building of the church was reconstructed by the crusaders in the 2nd millennium AD. e., however, and it quickly fell into decay. The temple received its present appearance only in the 17th century when Muslims added a dome, a large mihrab, and a mosque to it. The main historical value of this place is the stone on which the footprint of the Messiah remained.
Stone with the Savior's footprint
Opening hours: daily from 8.00 to 18.00.
THE RUSSIAN ASCENSION MONASTERY
The Russian- Orthodox Ascension Monastery on the Mount of Olives, built-in 1870, has become a permanent abode for 46 inhabitants of various nationalities. Its main distinguishing features are the stone on which the Virgin Mary stood during the ascension, and the white bell tower of John the Baptist, nicknamed "Russian candles" and which won the title of the highest church building in Jerusalem. On the last tier of the 64-meter bell tower, there is an observation deck, to which a long and rather steep staircase leads. They say that it is from here that the most beautiful view of the Old Town opens.
THE GETHSEMANE GARDEN ON MOUNT OF OLIVES
The Garden of Gethsemane, located at the foot of the hill, is a beautiful and uncrowded corner, conducive to a quiet and peaceful rest. Once upon a time, he occupied a huge territory, now only a small patch, densely overgrown with olive trees, remains of it. Scientists claim that at least 8 of these trees were planted over 2,000 years ago. It is very easy to recognize them, as old olives grow only in width.
However, ancient trees are far from the only pride of Gethsemane. According to the New Testament, it was in this garden that Jesus Christ prayed after the Last Supper and the betrayal of Judas. Currently, several churches are belonging to different denominations.
April-September - from 8.00 to 18.00.
October-March - from 8.00 to 17.00.
THE DOMINUS FLEVIT CHURCH
Already in the Byzantine period, there was a church here that was destroyed in the seventh century AD in the Persian invasion. However, it is not clear why this church was not rebuilt by the Crusaders but was rejuvenated in the current century.
The church of Dominus Flevit (the lord wept in Latin) was built in 1955 by the Italian architect Antonio Berlusconi (who also built its neighbor next to the Church of All Nations / Oil Winepress) Berlusconi designed the church building in the shape of a teardrop, according to Christian tradition on the Mount of Olives Jesus wept at the "prophecy" of the destruction of Jerusalem and also because of Jesus' grief at night after the Last Supper in which he was betrayed towards morning by the Sanhedrin in an oil press at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Berlusconi, as he did in the Church of All Nations, combined the remains of the Byzantine Church with the new one, but with a significant change: Which in this direction stand in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
In the churchyard, near the entrance, about 60 burial systems from the Second Temple period and the beginning of the Byzantine period were also discovered, including 122 ossuaries and seven sarcophagi, on these coffins engraved Hebrew names ), And are typical of Christian coffins from the first century AD. Early in the days of early Christianity, the Jews who believed in Jesus were called "Christians" (Jesus of Nazareth ...). And held the traditions of Jesus to the place. A large part of the ossuaries are displayed on the site next to the cave openings
You can also see the Byzantine mosaic that has been preserved and in the courtyard of the church a beautiful Byzantine winepress that also has a mosaic.
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him alone and said, "Please tell us when this thing will be and what is the sign of your coming and the end of the world?" Jesus answered and said to them, many. And you will hear wars and rumors of war. Pay attention, do not panic; Because there has to be this thing, and yet the end has not come. A nation will rise upon a nation and a kingdom upon a kingdom and there will be famine and earthquakes in many places, but all these are first troubles. Then you will be handed over to the persecutors and killed and you will be hated by all the Gentiles because of my name. Many will fail at the same time and betray each other and hate each other. False prophets will arise and deceive many, and as the law of desolation multiplies, the love of many will cool. But he who endures to the end is saved. And it shall come to pass in this day, that the kingdom shall be declared throughout all the world for a testimony unto all the nations; and afterward, shall the end come. "
The Gospel According to Matthew 24: 3-14.
At the top of the mountain, Helena built a church called "Alauna" (of the Olives) and Obsbyius wrote in the fourth century:
"The two sacred caves he (Constantine) adorned with great splendor and many expenses, especially the birth cave and the place of ascent at the top of the mountain. By doing so he commemorated the memory of his multi-faceted mother. Even though Helena was advanced in years, Heartbeats to the footprints of Jesus, related to the words of the prophet Zechariah (14: 4): "And his feet stood that day on the Mount of Olives which is over Jerusalem", One on the Cave of Birth, and the other on the top of the Mount of Olives at the site of the Ascension…. State grants were awarded to her by Constantine. "
The cave in the Peter Noster complex - That is, on the Mount of Olives there was a cave where Jesus taught his disciples the secret of the end times, the cave was used as a crypt, and above it was a large church built by Helena and called "Alona", which mainly commemorated the ascension of Jesus to heaven. We will describe the church from west to east: at the gate of the church was a portico on six pillars, followed by a courtyard (atrium) about 25 × 10 meters, followed by a basilica measuring about 30 × 20 meters.
The Persian invasion (614 AD) destroyed the church and the Crusaders who came to Jerusalem in 1099 AD built a small chapel here. In 1152 the Swanson brothers built a magnificent church on the site of the chapel.
Eskil Swanson was an admiral, and his brother Swine was a priest. They both came to the Holy Land and Eskil decided to repent and even baptized in Jordan, but in his baptism, it drowned. Even before Teva bequeathed his money to build a church on the Mount of Olives and asked that he and his brother be buried there, this is what was done. One can see today a monument erected by the Danish people in 1995 in memory of the brothers. Their church was named "Pater Noster" (Our Father in Heaven).
Pater Noster on the mount of olives - The Crusader Church was destroyed by Salah a-Din.
The present church of the Carmelite nuns was built by Aurelia de Bossi, Princess of Tour d'Uberne. She purchased the site in 1857 and with the help of archaeologist Clermont Gano restored the original church site, and built (1872) her convent and church called "Pater Noster", east of it. She gave the place to the French Carmelite nuns. During construction, the princess lived in a compound inside a wooden hut. She asked to be buried in the church, and indeed when she died in Florence in 1889 her remains were brought to Jerusalem and buried at the entrance to the church in 1957. Near her grave is an urn in which her father's heart lies.
In 1920 the cornerstone for a new church was laid on the site of the Church of the Alona called the "Holy Heart". Due to budget issues construction was not completed and the remains can be seen at the site.
The cave itself was restored in 1927 after destruction by Turkish and German soldiers during World War I when it was used as a kitchen. On the two entrances to it, it is written that there Jesus taught his disciples.
Opposite the apse of the cave are burial niches that the nuns claim to belong to bishops from the Byzantine period.
On all the walls of the compound hang ceramic tablets with the prayer "Our Father in Heaven" in 143 languages.
CHURCH OF ST. MARY MAGDALENE ON MOUNT OF OLIVES SLOPES
As can be seen in numerous photos of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, one of the most striking decorations of this area is the Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalene, built-in 1886. Located in the very center of the Garden of Gethsemane, it is visible from almost every corner of Jerusalem.
The building of the church, built of white and gray stone, can be called the best example of classic Russian architecture of the 17th century. It includes a small bell tower and as many as 7 domes. However, tourists are amazed not so much by the impressive size of this structure as by the richness of its interior. On the walls of the church, you can see frescoes depicting scenes from the life of the Mother of God, the floor of the church is made of expensive colored marble, and the main iconostasis is decorated with graceful bronze ornaments.
Also, several ancient relics are kept here. These include the miraculous icon "Hodegetria", as well as the relics of three famous women - the Greek princess Alice, nun Barbara, and Princess Elizabeth Feodorovna, who died during the Bolshevik uprisings.
Opening hours: Tue. and Thurs. from 10.00 to 12.00.
TOMB OF THE VIRGIN ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES
The underground tomb of the Virgin, located near the Garden of Gethsemane, is a small room in which the Virgin Mary was allegedly buried. A visit to this tomb makes a truly lasting impression.
The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dormition Mariae) is located in Jerusalem on its outskirts near the Zion Gate on Mount Zion. It was built in honor of the righteous death of the Mother of God. The celebration of the Assumption of the Virgin falls on August 15 (28).
History of origin - According to the legends of the 4th century, the place in Jerusalem where the Mother of God is buried was a family cemetery. Anna and Joachim, the parents of the Mother of God, rest here. Her husband Joseph the Betrothed is also buried here. The first chapel over the tomb of the Virgin was built in the 4th century by the order of Empress Helena. Later, the church building was destroyed. On its ruins in the 12th century, at the direction of the daughter of Baldwin II Melisande, a new church was built. From the same time, the veneration of one stone in the church began. According to legend, the Virgin Mary, the Most Holy Theotokos, “fell asleep on it for earthly life”. Princess Melisandre herself is buried in one of the chapels of the Church.
In the late 19th century, the piece of land in Jerusalem on which the Church was located was acquired by the Benedictine Order. He decided to build a new church here. The work was carried out in the period from 1890 to 1910, after its completion the Church acquired a new look that we can see today. At the same time, the Church changed its name. It began to be called the Assumption of the Mother of God.
Currently, the Temple belongs to the Germanic society in the Holy Land. It is headed by the Cologne Archbishop.
Architecture - The building of the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Jerusalem is the creation of the Cologne architect Heinrich Renald. It combines Byzantine and modern Muslim elements.
The building of the Temple is an underground cruciform structure 34 meters long and 6 meters wide. You can enter the Church through the south side of the building, going down a wide stone staircase. It consists of forty-eight steps. On its sides, at about 23 steps, you can see the burials of the father, mother, and husband of the Mother of God, as well as Princess Melisandre, by whose decree the temple was built in the 12th century.
In the central part of the church hall, you can see the coffin of the deceased Virgin Mary in the form of a statue made of cherry wood, which lies on a stone. It is located in a small chapel, which has two openings: on the west side for the entrance, and on the north side for the exit of pilgrims.
There are several thrones in the temple, for the performance of services of all kinds of confessions of Christians, except for Protestants and Catholics.
The interior is decorated with old frescoes and icons. Especially noteworthy is the Icon of the Mother of God, located behind the chapel. This is a copy of an icon painted in the 1st century by the Evangelist Luke. The original icon has its history: for some time it was in cities such as Kyiv, Chersonesos, Veliky Novgorod, Moscow, and in 1812 it was taken by the French to Paris. There she is today.
Tourist notes - The Church of the Assumption of the Virgin in Jerusalem is open to the public from 08:30 to 18:00 on weekdays, on Saturday until 17:30, and on Sunday from 10:30 to 17:30. Break of 45 minutes from 11:45 is to 12:30 pm.
THE JEWISH CEMETERY ON MOUNT OF OLIVES
Cemeteries testify more than anything to life - and their attitude to death. Certainly in this cemetery which is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world still active. Jews have been buried here for hundreds of years, some of the burial caves date from the days of the First Temple (3,000 years ago).
Judaism sees the dead as unclean and therefore the Jews will bury their dead as soon as possible and cemeteries will always be outside the city. Dead impurity is considered to be the most severe impurity so that Jews believe that their last name is Cohen or Kahana, Katz, Kahanovich יץ do not enter cemeteries, even if someone in their family dies. Those who engaged in the sacred work in the Temple. Today Cohen is a very common surname). The Bible says that to be cleansed of a dead defilement - a case where someone touched the dead or stayed in a house where there is a dead body they would burn on the top of the Mount of Olives a cow whose whole fur was red and the ashes would be mixed with water.
The Jews do not bury in the coffin but wrap the dead in shrouds and bury them underground. Thirty days after the burial, her condition and name, date of birth, and death of the deceased are placed on it. In many tombstones, you will see a niche for a candle. It is customary to go to the grave of the dead every year on the date of his death and light a candle to lift his soul.
Note that you will hardly see flowers on the graves. Jews, and especially believers, do not place flowers on the grave but a small stone. This is not a mitzvah but a custom - so you will hear different explanations. Some will say that the laying of the stone is evidence of a visit and therefore on the graves of important public figures you will see many stones. Another explanation is symbolic participation in the construction of the monument.
VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAIN OF OLIVES
The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is rich not only in religious buildings but also in observation platforms. From its height, the reflections of the golden gates, slender candles of minarets, the roofs of houses in the old part of the city, the Christian Quarter, the ancient fortress walls located beyond the Kidron River, and other structures of Jerusalem are perfectly visible.
WHAT IS THE COST TO VISIT THE MOUNT OF OLIVES?
Most of the Mount of Olives memorial sites are freely accessible, but some sites require a ticket to be entered. It is better to check the cost of the visit and opening hours in advance by contacting the information center or by viewing the information on the official website: mount of olives.co.il/en.
HOW TO GET TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES IN JERUSALEM?
Mount of Olives, a photo of which adorns many tourist avenues, is located at Mount of Olives Road | East Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. You can get to it both on foot, and by taxi or public transport. The nearest hiking route is from St. Stephen's Gate, also called the Lion's Gate. When approaching the foot, you will find yourself in a gorge that separates the mountain from the Old Town. The climb will be difficult, especially in the heat of summer. But the payment for your diligence will be the stunning views that open at each level of the ascent.
Bus number 3
As for transport, several buses are running to the main observation deck on the Mount of Olives - 1, 3, and 75. All of them depart from the Arab bus station near the Damascus Gate and move along the Western Wall to the Derech Jericho / Derech Ha'Ophel stop. At the foot of the hill, you can change to a taxi. By the way, you can catch a "cab" in the Old Town. In this case, a trip to the Mount of Olives will cost 35-50 ILS. If you are going to climb to the top on your transport, be prepared to face the lack of free parking spaces.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE MOUNT OF OLIVES
1. What is the significance of the Mount of Olives? The Mount of Olives is the biggest and the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world, possibly dating to the times of the second Jewish temple, it has more than 100000 Jewish graves,4000, Christian graves and 1500 Muslim graves. the cemetery was a burial site since the times of king David, almost 2800 years ago, and included the burial of prophets, kings, rabbis, and celebrities.
2. Mount of Olives in the Bible? the resurrection of the dead is mentioned in the bible and starts from the top of the mount of olives according to the prophecy of prophet Ezekiel.
3. Is the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane the same place? Yes, the Gethsemane garden is located on the slopes of the mount of olives, it is an actual part of the mount.
4. Is it safe to visit Mount of Olives? The Mount of Olives is completely safe to visit all year long, many security forces and police are attending to remain ordered.
5. Is Bethany on the Mount of Olives? Yes, Bethany is located on the east part of Mount of Olives but is considered as a part of the West Bank.
6. Where was Jesus buried? Jesus wasn't buried on the mount of olives, he was buried in what is called today the old city of Jerusalem.
7. Is Mount Zion the Mount of Olives? No, Mount Zion is located just 800meters near the mount of olives and is considered a part of the old city of Jerusalem.
8. Why did Jesus go to Gethsemane on Mount of Olives? The gospels of Matthew and Mark identify the last place of prayer as Gethsemane. Jesus accepts that the hour has come, he prayed for the last time and was betrayed by Judas.
9. How high is the Mount of Olives? The Mount of Olives is almost 1000 meters above sea level and is considered the 2nd highest mountain of Jerusalem.
10. What mountain was Jesus on when he ascended to heaven? According to the gospels Jesus ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives.
11. Are there any olive trees on the Mount of Olives? Yes, Mount of olives is called like this since the groves are olives only, the famous olives trees dated to the times of Jesus are located in the Gethsemane garden near the church of all nations.