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

Apollonia National Park

Apollonia National Park is perched on the Mediterranean Sea. The crumbling ruins of this ancient city give way to a stunning tour!

Emek Tzurim Sifting Project

In the Emek Tzurim Sifting Project, you get to participate in an actual archaeological dig without getting yourself all dirty! It's super fun

Tzippori National Park

Tzippori National Park (Sepphoris) is located midway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee. And a must-see site in the Galilee

Bethphage

Bethphage is located in Mt. Olives and the place from which Jesus sent his disciples to find a colt upon which he would ride into Jerusalem.

Keshet Cave

Keshet Cave is the name of a geological attraction in the northern ridge of Betzet Reserve in the Western Galilee, in the area of ​​Adamit ...

Nimrod Fortress National Park

Nimrod Fortress National Park protects is a medieval Ayyubid castle set on the southern slopes of Mount Hermon. So let's go touring!

Hamam al-Basha

Hamam al-Basha was established in 1795 by the governor of the north of the country, Ahmad al-Jazar, and is named after him.

Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue

The Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue in Safed is thought to be the oldest synagogue still in use today in Israel. I do recommend you to stop by!

Ben Gurion Desert Home

Ben-Gurion's desert home was the retirement home of Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion from the years 1953 until his death in 1973.

Armenian Quarter

The Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem is a fascinating place to visit. Forming part of Jerusalem Old City it is a must-see site for any tourist.

Need help?