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Mount of Olives Israel. A sacred place or a touristy spot?

The Mount Olivet Israel Ridge was in ancient times the eastern border of Ancient Jerusalem, as it produces a clear buffer separating the city from the Judean desert.

The lengthened hill ridge, which extends from Mount Scopus in the north to the inclines of the Kidron Valley in the south, to the foot of the optimally referred to as the “Mount of Unction”.

The Mount Olive, one of three hills on a long ridge to the east of Jerusalem, is the location of many biblical events.

Due to its relative height, this mountain offers a breathtaking view of the city to the west, as well as the desert to the eastern.

The Mount of Olives Israel

1. General information

During biblical times of the First and Secondly Temple period, the city of Jerusalem and also the Temple Mount were the focus of Jewish life.

Jerusalem to Mount of Olives
Jerusalem Mount Olivet

This strongly affected the status of the Mountain in the background as well as Jewish heritage. The hill is considered a sacred place for many religions and plays a very important role in religious ceremonies.

This happened mainly due to its closeness to the Temple Mount and particularly due to the view that it offered of the surrounding location.

Scriptural resources link the Mountain with future incredible occurrences that will occur throughout the Redemption.

As a result, the place ended up being a vital website in Jewish tradition and also various custom-made creations.

Mount of olives Jerusalem Israel
Mount of olives Jerusalem

The mountain was sanctified and also it ended up being a location of Jewish missions.

The hill’s sanctity, its closeness to the city and its soft milky uniformity that made it easy to go into, added to the hill becoming an area of internment throughout the generations.

The tradition of internment started throughout the First Temple period and also remains to this day.

Today, site visitors group to the Mountain for its awesome sights and also to learn about its background in special guided scenic tours.

Its rocks murmur tales from centuries past, involving site visitors with its keys as well as glorious history.

2. The Mount of Olives Israel and its significance

Besides its elegance and elevation, this place is also a vital mountain to Christianity, Judaism as well as Islam.

It is believed by Christians as well as Muslims that Jesus rose from the top of Mount Olives.

Christians likewise think Jesus will return from this area. According to the idea, Jesus additionally did numerous various other things on the hill during the Holy Week.

We’ll learn about every one of them later on in the article.

For Judaism, the place is very important since it is linked throughout Times and the Resurrection.

Jews believe that during the resurrection, individuals buried on this mountain would come back to life among the first ones.

As a result, the Jewish individuals buried on the hill are buried with their face towards the Temple Mount, so that the Holy place Mount will be their first sight.

Mt of olives Jerusalem olive tree
Mt of olives Jerusalem olive tree

Muslims also have actually a belief linked throughout Times and also the Mountain.

They believe that at the End of Times a very slim bridge will show up over the Kidron Valley, connecting this hill to Holy Place Mount.

The righteous will certainly pass unharmed and the sinners will certainly fall off the bridge and die.

The bridge will certainly have seven arcs, for this reason, the name of the hotel from the hill is the 7 Arches Resort.

On the Hill, on the eastern part of it, you can see the oldest Jewish cemetery with graves dating from the First Temple period and many old and beautiful churches.

The most famous among all is the Church of Mary Magdalene with its golden dome.

3. How to get to the Mount of Olives Israel?

Thousand years ago the Hill was accessible only on foot but today the mount is accessible by car, by bus and on foot.

3.1 By bus

If you want to reach the top as soon as possible, without needing to climb the mountain, you can ride a bus to the Resort Seven Arches, located on top of the mountain.

Line buses 275, 257 and also 3 leave from the Sultan Sulliman Terminal near Damascus Gate.

Ask the chauffeur where the nearby station is to the Hotel 7 Arches or the Chapel of the Ascension.

The ride lasts for around 15 minutes and the price is 6 Shekels. There’s additionally Egged bus number 84, which leaves from the Ammo Hillside Public Transportation Terminal.

3.2 By taxi

We were tired and outside was really hot so we decided to take a taxi from our hotel to the top of the mountain.

In less than 10 minutes we reached the top and the price was somewhere around 60 shekels.

Generally, a taxi should not cost you more than 60 -70 shekels from the city centre and no more than 50 shekels from Lion Gate.

3.3 By Foot

This is the hardest way to get to the top I must tell you!
There are about 3 major ways to reach the Mount of Olives on foot. All methods lead to the base of the hill, so you will certainly require to reach the top.

It’s a pretty high climb, so be prepared to take in some breaths on the way up. The climb can take around 20 minutes to 30 minutes.

The climb starts from behind the Church from the garden of Gethsemane, where you can find a paved road turning right.

Cars are driving up and also down, sometimes at significant speed, and the road is narrow without a pathway, so keep watch. If you favour not to walk when driving, there’s additionally a stair which goes up to the top.

Continue to the tiny cafe which is situated a little bit over Gethsemane and also you’ll find the stairs on the cafe’s right side.

There are a LOT of stairways, so the climb won’t be easier, but at least you will not need to be worried about cars.

The staircase leads to the Church of Pater Noster, so in order to get to the neglect, you’ll require to turn right as well as stroll a short while along the road.

If you choose to climb the Mount of Olives Israel on foot then you should know there are three ways of getting up: one road is shorter, one offers the best views, while the third one is the longest.

Dome of the Rock Jerusalem Israel
Dome of the Rock Jerusalem Israel

If you choose the shortest road, then you have to walk through the Muslim Quarter and exit from Lion’s Gate.
If you want to follow the road which offers the best views, then exit the Old City from Dung Entrance (near the Western Wall surface) as well as walk along the roadway going in the direction of the Hill.

There is a great promenade along the roadway and also you can see different monoliths at the foot of the Hill.

If you look closely, you might likewise discover small rectangular holes in the mountain-side. Those are tomb caves from the First Temple period of people buried on the mount.

And now a few words about the third path, which is the longest. Exit from Zion Gateway and also walk through the parking area to the road leading in the direction of the Hill.

After a few minutes of walking, you’ll reach the very same part pointed out in Way described above as the one with the best views. This stroll can take around 20 minutes.

4. Things to see along the way

The attractions listed below are from the top to the bottom of the Mountain. If you choose to reach the top of the hill with public transport and walk on foot back to Jerusalem, then you should start the tour of the attractions from the last one presented.

4.1 Church of All Nations

From the bottom to the top, the first important attraction from the Mount of Olives Israel is the Church of All Nations, also known as the Church of the Agony or the Church of Gethsemane.

Right here is believed to be the place where Jesus prayed prior to his arrest in Gethsemane.

In the courtyard of the church is an attractive olive tree garden with one of the oldest olive trees in Israel, concerning 900 years of age. There are also 2 trees grown by Popes.

Church of all nations Jerusalem
Church of all nations Jerusalem

Inside the church pay attention to the windows, which are made by purple alabaster.

Purple is a colour of pain in Christianity and this is what Jesus felt when he hoped here.

If you consider the ceiling, you’ll see the within 12 domes, each with a various flag. Those stand for the 12 Catholic areas that donate to this church.

Opening hours: the Church is open on a daily basis from 8 a.m to 5 p.m (6 p.m during summertime). I don’t remember seeing any afternoon break as most of the churches have, but please double-check before you go.

4.2 Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary

This amazing church is located right on the other side of the road from the Church of All Nations.
This church belongs to two Christian communities: the Armenian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

This is a very vibrant church as well as on its lower degree, in the facility, is the empty burial place of Saint Mary.

There is a tradition (it is not written in the New Testament) that Saint Mary’s body was buried right here and after 3 days was taken up to the skies by Jesus as part of Virgin Mary’s Assumption.

Church of Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem
Church of Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem

Also, on both sides of the stairs are burial places of important Crusader Queens of Jerusalem.

Outside the church is The Cave of Betrayal, thought to be the location where Judah betrayed Jesus and also aided detain him.

Opening hours: Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary a very important attraction from the Mount of Olives Israel can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m and from 2.30 p.m to 5 p.m. As you can see, this sacred place has an afternoon break.

These are the attractions which can be seen at the button of the hill. It’s time to start climbing Mount Olivet and visit the attractions from the top.

4.3 Church of Mary Magdalene

On your way up, just after a few steps, you’re expected to see on your left a big, green gate which is closed most of the time. If you do not see it shut, it’s a wonder and means that you can visit this beautiful church.

On the opposite side of this gate is an old column called Judah Column. According to writing, this column existed at the time of Jesus’ apprehension.

Originally, it lay near the Cave of Betrayal but moved below.

Inside is a gorgeous garden and inside of it is an extremely beautiful church, the Church of Mary Magdalene.

Yes, the church you can see from far, with the gold domes that may remind you of onions. This church comes from Russian Christians.

4.4 The Jewish cemetery

Go on climbing up along the roadway. You’ll attend to your right the huge Mount of Olives Cemetery. You might notice that there are no blossoms on the graves, but instead rocks.

This is because of an old Jewish tradition to place stones on graves, to show that you have gone to the tomb and recognized the buried there.

The number of stones from the rock represents how visited that grave is; more rocks mean frequent visits. Unlike flowers, that perish, rocks never die so this is the main reasons why Jew people put rocks on the tombs.

4.5 Dominus Flevit Church

Another beautiful attraction on the Mount of Olives Israel is Dominus Flevit Church. This construction belongs to the Franciscans and was designed by Barluzzi, the person who designed the Church of All Nations.

The construction resembles a teardrop and according to the tradition, the place where this church was built is where Jesus stopped on his way to Jerusalem during the Holy Week.

On his stop, Jesus looked over the city as well as mourned it, as he visualized its devastation.

The destruction did occur a couple of years after his Ascension, in 70 AD, when the Romans damaged the 2nd Holy place.

As soon as you enter the church you will certainly notice that the church is not routed to the eastern as most churches are, however, is rather routed in the direction of the Old City, that lies to the west.

This is implied to advise the people of the event honoured in this place.

Outside the church is an awesome view of Jerusalem and also over the Temple Mount. Near the entrance door of the property is an exhibition of ancient ossuaries dating from the Second Temple duration.

The Franciscans, who discovered them when constructing the church, believe these ossuaries belonged to a cemetery of Jewish-Christians, the very first of Christ’s followers.

Opening hours: The church is open daily from 8 a.m to 11.45 a.m. and from 2.30 p.m to 5.00 p.m

4.6 The Tomb of the Prophets

After some more minutes of climbing, you’ll see a high staircase in front. Just before the staircase, to your right, you’ll see an entry to a site called The Tomb of the Prophets.

This site has a very important significance to both Jewish and also Christians. According to tradition, this is the burial site of the 3 last Bible (Old Testament) prophets, Haggai, Zechariah as well as Malachi.

Inside you’ll be offered a candle to light your way along with the impressive catacombs. In total there are 35 catacombs inside this place.

Opening hours: The Tumb from the Mount of Olives Israel is not open on Sundays and Fridays. On the rest of the days, you can visit the tomb from 9 a.m to 3 p.m.

4.7 The Chapel of the Ascension

Ascend up the stairway and also you’ll arrive at a little road junction. I advise you to go left towards one of the most essential sites for Christians.

Walk along the roadway as well as after a couple of mins turn left onto Rub’a el-Adawiya Street. A short while afterwards, you’ll see The Chapel of the Ascension to your right.

You can enter via the gate right into a big round courtyard, encircling a tiny chapel.

It is believed that from this area Jesus rose right into heaven. Some think that he will likewise return from this very spot.

Inside the chapel is a rock, on which you can see a footprint, believed to have belonged to Jesus.

the Chapel of the ascension Jerusalem
the Chapel of the ascension Jerusalem

The chapel was developed throughout the Oriental duration on the acme of the Mount of Olives. Later the chapel was ruined by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah as well as built again by the Crusaders.

When Saladin showed up, the chapel was handed over to the Muslims and today it is the property of the Muslim Waqf, that additionally see Jesus as a divine character, as they believe he was just one of the last prophets prior to Muhammed.

Opening hours: The Chapel of the Ascension is open daily from 8 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon with no afternoon break

To enter the chapel itself, you will be required to pay a small fee of cash to the Muslims that are in charge of the area (in cash only).

4.8 Church of Pater Noster

After seeing the Chapel of the Ascension from the Mount of Olives Israel, you can follow your tracks back to the place where you needed to pick in between right as well as left, near the end of the staircase.

On your way back you will see another sacred place. It is the Church of Pater Noster, a catholic church.

Pater Noster Church Israel
Pater Noster Church Israel matthew 24 and matthew 26

This church belongs to the Carmelites and memorializes the place where Jesus taught his disciples the Pater Noster prayer.

All around the yard are porcelain tablet computers, on which the prayer is written in various languages, including Hebrew.

The initial church was among the four initial churches to be constructed by Helena, Constantine the Great’s mother.

Pater Noster Church Israel Jerusalem
Pater Noster Church Israel Jerusalem zechariah 14

There is a small entry charge to the church, however, if you have time as well as it’s open, I assume it’s worth it. I actually like the inside of this church. It’s extremely interesting!

Opening hours: This church is closed on Sundays. Visitors can see it from Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m to 12 p.m and from 2 p.m to 5 p.m

These are all the important attractions from the Hill. Before you go down, prepare your camera and take some memorable photos of Jerusalem from the platform located on top of the hill.

You can discover these wonderful places by yourself or you can book a guided tour with a professional guide and enjoy your day by letting others stress with organising the tour.

The most complete which I recommend you to book is New Jerusalem: Mount of Olives Tour. The tour starts at 2 p.m and lasts for 3 hours. Visiting all major attractions from the Hill are included.

New Jerusalem Mount of Olives Tour Israel
New Jerusalem Mount Olives Tour Israel

5. Where to sleep

We suggest you book your overnight stay in Jerusalem close to Mount Olivet. Our recommendations are:

5.1 Arthur Hotel an Atlas Boutique Hotel is a wonderful hotel located right in the centre of the city, 2.5 kilometres away from the Mount of Olives Israel. The rooms are clean and well maintained and the breakfast is good with various options.

5.2 Orient Jerusalem By Isrotel Exclusive Collection a 5 stars hotel located within walking distance from Old Town of Jerusalem and 2.5 kilometres away from Mount Olivet.

The hotel has a wellness area with a sauna, a hammam and fitness facilities. Guests can have breakfast at the property as well as lunch and dinner.

The services are very good and the breakfast is varied and tasty; some of the rooms overlooking the surrounding area.

5.3 Ibis Styles Jerusalim City Center is another great option for your trip to Jerusalem. It is another wonderful hotel located in the centre of Jerusalem, 2.6 kilometres away from Mount Olivet.

The rooms are spacious and clean, breakfast is good and the staff is very helpful and polite.

I hope you will include the Mount of Olives Israel into your itinerary.

It is a sacred place with many beautiful attractions and has a very important role for Christians, Jewish and Muslims which you definitely have to see it!