An early rise meant that we could arrive at Mount Zion before 9am and miss the crowds of tourists that swarm the city of Jerusalem on a daily basis. Today I would like to share with you a series of photos from Mount Zion. We walked out of the city walls through Zion gate and found places of religious significance for both Judaism and Christianity.
The highlights of Mount Zion include Dormition Abbey (a German Catholic Church built on the site where Mary was laid to rest), the room of the Last Supper, St Peter Gallicantu (built on the spot where Jesus was imprisoned) and King David’s Tomb (a Jewish Pilgrimage Site).
Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion
Dormition Abbey is a German-Catholic Church built apparently on the site where Mary (Mother of Jesus) was said to have lived and laid to rest. Mary, Mother of Jesus is not actually buried here, Mary’s Tomb is at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
However, go down into the crypt to see a beautiful memorial to Mary, surrounded by stunning wall mosaics.
The Room of the Last Supper
We headed towards the site where the Last Supper was said to be held. We followed the arrows and ended up in a courtyard with the 10 commandments in stone. We looked around, a little confused. ‘Is this it?’ my friend said to me. I wasn’t so sure. ‘I’m not really getting the feeling that this is where Jesus dipped the bread into the wine!’ I replied. ‘I think we need to go up here!’
As we entered a large room with stone pillars and stained glass windows, I said ‘Now I’m feeling it!’ The Cenacle (dining room) or the Upper Room is the place where Jesus is believed to have had his last meal with his disciples before his death.
Mount Zion – St Peter Gallicantu
St Peter’s Church was built on the spot where Jesus was imprisoned. It’s a beautiful Roman Orthodox Church with a blue dome. The name ‘Gallicantu’ comes from ‘cock crows’ and, therefore St Peter’s Church represents the denial of Peter (before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times. Mark 14:30).
Don’t be put off by the blandness of the interior. The caves below the Church are fitting with the Biblical descriptions of Caiphus’ palace.
Cost: 10 NIS
Mount Zion – King David’s Tomb
Approaching King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, I went to walk out of King David’s tomb to left, rather than the right, and this almost interrupted Jews on pilgrimage who wanted to touch the Mezuzah (the small sacred container for scrolls that Jews touch when they enter a room). Be aware of this – it is a Jewish place of pilgrimage.
Hotels in Jerusalem
If you are backpacking and happy to hostel it, I recommend a stay at Abrahams Hostel. It is very clean and sociable with free WIFI and tours that you can book. If you are looking for mid-range or luxury hotels I highly recommend the Dan Hotels in Jerusalem – Dan Panorama is a great place to stay with a lovely pool.
What to pack for the Middle East
Consider packing conservative clothing and a shawl or headscarf for women if you would like to visit religious places. Some comfortable sandals work well in the Middle East as it can be hot so they will let your feet breathe. It can get extremely hot in some parts of the Middle East and so sun cream is essential.
It’s a good idea to pack conservative clothing for the Middle East. Avoid short skirts and low cut tops or spaghetti straps. Comfortable trousers and linen tops are great. Long skirts and Maxi dresses also work really well and are comfortable with the hear. Don’t forget your sunglasses, and pack your prescription sunnies if you have those!
Further Reading on Israel
If you enjoyed this blog, you might also like to read some of my other articles about Jerusalem and travel in Israel…
- How to spend 3 days in Israel
- Solo Travel Israel – The Ultimate Guide
- How to plan the perfect Jerusalem Vacation
I’d recommend that if possible you spend a minimum of 2 days in Tel Aviv and a minimum of 5 days in Jerusalem.