Mount of Olives, to the West of Jerusalem’s old city, is packed with places of worship and historical points of interest. Walking to the viewpoint at the top of Mount of Olives is well worth it, and the view from the top is phenomenal. I’m currently in a city that has more religious diversity and controversy than anywhere else in the world, and I have Instagramed it!
Mount of Olives Viewpoint
From the Mount of Olives viewpoint, you can see the the beautiful golden Dome of the Rock, the place where Mohammad (pbuh) ascended to heaven following his night journey. The black dome of Al-Aqsr Mosque is to the left. Jerusalem is the third most important holy city to Muslims after Mecca and Medina.
Yet, it is not only Muslims who see Jerusalem as a holy city. It is crucial to all Abrahamic religions (Islam, Judaism and Christianity).
Chapel of the Ascension
At the top of the Mount of Olives, you can visit the Church of the Ascension. A chapel is built on the spot where Christians originally gathered around a cave, to commemorate Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
Ancient Jewish Graveyard on the Mount of Olives
For me, one of the most unexpected yet astonishing sites was the vastness of the Anchient Jewish cemetery. Some 70,000 graves exist here. Gravestones are carved in Hebrew and orthodox Jews can be seen praying over the graves of their loved ones.
Church of Dominus Flevit
Walking down from the observation point, there are several vital points of interest for Christian pilgrims and tourists alike. The Church of Dominus Flevit was built on the site where Jesus was said to be weeping in the Garden of Olives before his death by crucifixion.
Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene
The seven beautiful golden guilded domes are that of the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene. The Church is dedicated to Mary Magdalene, one of the followers of Jesus and was built in 1886 by Tsar Alexandaer III in honour of his mother. You can visit the Church in the morning, but be aware that it is closed on a Tuesday and Thursday (10am-12noon).
Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations
Continue to walk down from the Russian Orthodox Church, and you will find the Church of All Nations, built next to the Garden of Gethsemane. The Garden of Gethsemane is where the Passion of Christ began, the place where he was arrested.
The Church of All Nations itself is well worth visiting, and it is free to go inside. I was lucky enough to see Mass taking place.
Tomb of the Virgin Mary
The final place of importance on the Mount of Olives is the Tomb of the Virgin Mary.
From the foot of the Mount of Olives, I recommend that you head down into the Kidron Valley (King’s Valley Promenade) for some ancient Jewish ruins.
All of this is possible in one day.