The Mount of Olives is one of the most important landmarks in Jerusalem. Overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives viewpoint is the ideal spot to start your day in the Holy City. The area is a significant landmark to Jews and Christians since biblical times.
Mount of Olives Viewpoint
One reason to visit Mount of Olives Viewpoint is for the 3,000 years old Jewish cemetery with over 150,000 graves. Some of which are the tombs of prominent biblical figures. The Mount of Olives has also been used as a celebratory site for centuries, hosting religious ceremonies like the holiday of Sukkot. Located above the Temple Mount and boasting breathtaking views over the city, the mount was also a site for religious Jews making pilgrimages.
After the Arab-Israeli War in 1948, when Jordan was in control of the area, there was a 19-year annexation that prevented Israelis from entering the area and visiting the Mount of Olives. Sadly, 38,000 graves were destroyed during this time, and many burial sites were damaged due to roads being developed in the area.
When the land was finally returned to the Israelis after the Six-Day War in 1967, the Mount of Olives was restored, and the cemetery became functional for burials once more.
Visiting the Area
The best way to experience the Mount of Olives is to explore the landmarks in and around the Mount and soak up the spectacular panoramic views of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Valley of Hinnom, and the Judean Desert in the distance.
The Mount of Olives is home to several famous landmarks. One of the most famous and popular points is the Garden of Gethsemane and the Grotto of Gethsemane. Located at the foot of the mount, the Garden of Gethsemane is believed to be where Jesus and his disciples spent the night after the ‘Last Supper.’
On the western slope of the mount, you’ll find the Jewish cemetery, the Catholic Church of Dominus Flevit, the Tomb of the Prophets, and the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene. Other notable landmarks on the Mount worth visiting include the Augusta Victoria Hospital with the Lutheran Church of the Ascension and its glorious 50-meter bell tower.