Mount of Olives

History, churches, and spectacular views in the magnificent Mount of Olives, a tremendously important site for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
Mount of Olives Viewpoint, Jerusalem

Mount of Olives: see Jerusalem from above.

Considered by many to be the most beautiful viewpoint in Jerusalem, and perhaps in all of Israel, Mount of Olives is a truly spectacular site visit. As a site that has played an major role in the history of Jerusalem, and is associated with important events in three religions, it is no short of fascinating stories, that add even more layers to the stunning views you’ll see from up here.

Located just above the old city of Jerusalem, east of the Temple Mount, is the renowned Mount of Olives, the most popular viewpoint in Jerusalem, and a must-see site for every visitor to the Holy City. Here, you can find all of the fascinating stories about the holy and historic mountain, and the best ways to visit it.

The story of Mount of Olives

Many sacred traditions have been associated with the Mount of Olives – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim – all of which draw from the biblical descriptions that identify it as the place where God will judge his creatures at the end of time, on Judgment Day.

Mount of Olives in Christianity

The Mount of Olives is one of the most important mountains in Christianity, if not the most important. It is from here that Jesus came down to Jerusalem in the last week of his life. On the eastern edge of the mountain, in Bethany, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Here, he also taught his disciples Torah and revealed to them the secret of the Day of Judgment. From the top of the mountain, he prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and wept over it. There he was captured by Roman soldiers and was taken to trial. According to tradition, the tomb of Mary lies at the foot of the mountain. And perhaps the most important of all, from the top of the Mount of Olives Jesus ascended to heaven. Since the Byzantine period, the Mount of Olives attracted pilgrims and monks, and several important churches and monasteries were established there.

Mount of Olives in Islam

In Islam, the Mount of Olives, known as A-Tor, plays an important role on the “Day of Judment” – a day when, according to tradition, all people will walk on a narrow bridge from the top of the Mount of Olives to the Temple Mount.
According to the Muslim belief, the scales of justice will be placed on the Mount of Olives on which the good and bad deeds of all human beings will be weighed. From the top of the Mount of Olives, a narrow bridge will be installed on top of seven arches, which will continue, as mentioned, to the Temple Mount. All men will be required to cross it, and while the righteous will succeed in their walk and course, the sinners will fall from it to their death.

Mount of Olives in Judaism

Jewish tradition attaches great importance to the Mount of Olives in various contexts. In the days of the Temple, the Mount of Olives was used as the place where a Red Cow was cremated.
In those days, the Mount of Olives was used as one of the stations in the chain of beacons that heralded the beginning of every month.

After the Temple was destroyed in the year 70, and until the early Middle Ages, Jews were not allowed to live in Jerusalem, but they were allowed to visit the site on Tisha B’av, the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, to look at the Temple Mount and mourn its destruction.
Remains of Jewish graves from the periods of the First and Second Temples were discovered at the bottom of the mount, and there are many written testimonies about the Jewish burial tradition on the Mount of Olives from the Middle Ages to the present day. In fact, the Mount of Olives Cemetery is the only place in the world where an almost continuous burial takes place, for over four thousand years.

Best places to visit in Mount of Olives

Rehavam Lookout (Seven Arches Lookout)

From this famous observation deck, you’ll see Jerusalem spread out in front of you: the Temple Mount, the churches, the Mount of Olives Cemetery, the Jerusalem wall, the four quarters of the old city, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of the Redeemer, Augusta Victoria Church, City of David and buildings in Modern Jerusalem.

Church of All Nations

This church is an important landmark in the last days of Jesus, and considered to be second in importance, right after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The church marks the place of Jesus’ seclusion after the Last Meal, and the place where he was handed over by Judas Iscraiot to the officers of the Sanhedrin, an imprisonment that would lead to his trial, his death on the cross, and following resurrection.

opening hours:

Sun-Sat: 8:00 am – 12:00 pm; 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Mary Magdalena Church

The church was built in 1888 by the Russian Tzar Alexander the 3rd, and dedicated to the memory of his mother, named after Mary Magdalene (Mary of Magdalene), the disciple of Jesus who accompanied him on his way to the crucifixion and was the first to see him after he was resurrected.

The beauty of the church can be mostly seen from the outside, as the insides of the church itself is more modest. On the central wall is a picture of the painter Alexander Ivanov – one of the greatest Russian painters of the 19th century. In the picture you can see Mary Magdalene standing before the Roman Emperor Tiberius with a red egg in her hand.

The church is open to visitors only on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10:00-12 pm.

Augusta Victoria Church

The Augusta Victoria Church is one of the most beautiful and magnificent churches in Jerusalem, and it is dedicated to Jesus’ ascension to heaven from the Mount of Olives.
The place is open every day except Sunday between 8:00 and 13:00.

Around ​​the complex, there is a pilgrim hostel which is currently used as a hospital. The building of the hostel was converted into a military hospital during the First World War and also served as the main headquarters of the Turkish-German General Headquarters in Jerusalem.

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