Dormition Abbey

Exploring Jerusalem

The Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem which is also known as Abbey of the Dormition is a church on top of Mt. Zion you have to visit. When touring Old Town Jerusalem just go and take a pick, its just outside Zion Gate. Besides the beautiful structure that can be seen towering high standing from Mt. Olives, it holds lots of beautiful mosaics and archaeological remains. In addition, there is an important Christian tradition linked to this location.


Abbey-of-the Dormition
Abbey of the Dormition

History of the Site

In the Byzantine period, a vast basilica was built on the premises called ‘Hagia Sion’ in the early 5th century. In addition, relics attributed to Saint Stephen were transferred to the church in December 415 CE. Moreover, the Basilica is shown in the 6th century Madaba Map. Sadly it was destroyed in the 614 sack of Jerusalem by the Sassanians. Today when you come to visit the modern church you can see some of the ruins which were recovered in 1899. The archaeological remains are on display on the lower level of the Dormition Abbey.


The Modern Doors of Dormition Abbey

A monastic order known as the Abbey of Our Lady of Mount Zion was established at the site in the 12th century, with a church built on the ruins of the earlier demolished Byzantine church. The 12th-century church was again destroyed in the 13th century, and the monks moved to Sicily.


The Ruins of Prior Churches Built on the Grounds of the Modern Abbey of the Dormition. These Ruins Are Located Underground.

The Modern Building of the Dormition Abbey

During his visit to Jerusalem in 1898 for the dedication of the Protestant Church of the Redeemer, Kaiser Wilhelm II bought this piece of land on Mount Zion for 120,000 German Goldmark from Sultan Abdul Hamid II and presented it to the “German Association of the Holy Land”. Conrad Schick reported about the event, describing the acquired plot of land and showing confidence that the remains of the ancient Zion Church would be discovered under the accumulated dirt.


The Abbey of the Dormition: The Ground Level is Decorated with Beautiful Mosaics

According to local tradition, it was on this spot, near the site of the Last Supper, that the Blessed Virgin Mary died, or at least ended her worldly existence. Both in Orthodoxy and Catholicism, as in the language of scripture, death is often called a “sleeping” – or “falling asleep” – and this gave the original monastery its name. The church itself is called Basilica of the Assumption (or Dormition). In the Catholic dogma of the Assumption of Mary, Christ’s mother was taken, body and soul, to heaven.


The Crypt of the Abbey of the Dormition

The present church is a circular building with several niches. Also, two spiral staircases lead to the crypt, the site ascribed to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. Now out of regard for the nearby Jewish and Muslim sacred place of David’s Tomb; which occupies part of the ground floor of the Cenacle; where it has traditionally the Last Supper took place; the belltower is set far enough away that its shadow does not touch the tomb, and is therefore not directly accessible from the church.

apt-stamp-white@2x
arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Simon Peter

RELATED POSTS

Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo to locals is a popular family and tourist destination in Jerusalem. If you have some spare time don't miss it!

Joseph’s Tomb

Joseph’s Tomb is a funerary monument located at the eastern entrance to the valley that separates Mounts Gerizim and Ebal; not so far from Jacob’s ...

Luzit Caves

Luzit Caves are a series of bell caves, perched on a flat hill 210 meters above sea level, about a kilometer southeast of Luzit in ...

Majrase Nature Reserve

Majrase Nature Reserve is the perfect location to cool off during the hot summers. Bring your entire bunch and you'll have lots of fun!

Temple Mount

The Temple Mount is a holy compound for Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Old City of Jerusalem. Today is the third holiest place in Islam.

The Small Crater

The Small Crater (HaMakhtesh HaKatan in Hebrew) is a geological erosional crater in the Negev Desert. One of five erosion Makhtesh in Israel, and seven ...

Maayan Harod

Maayan Harod or Ayn Jalut is the location of the famous 13th century Battle of Ain Jalut, considered a major turning point in world history. ...

Beit Guvrin National Park

Beit Guvrin National Park is an archaeological site that preserves the ruins of the ancient city of Maresha and the caves of Beit Guvrin.

Treasures in the Walls Museum

Treasures in the Walls Museum is an Ethnographic and Folklore Museum of Acre and the Galilee Region. The museum is located inside the ancient walls ...

Zichron Yaakov

Zikhron Yaakov is a small picturesque town near Haifa. Dotted with coffee shops, museums and restaurants, you'll find lots of things to do!

Need help?

Skip to content