Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives, known as Har HaZeitim in Hebrew, is a section of East Jerusalem covering three mountain peaks across the Kidron Valley. It was once filled with olive groves. These peaks are home to many religious and cultural attractions of interest to both Jewish and Christian visitors.
The Mount of Olives is mentioned in the Old Testament mentioning King David's flight from Absalom and King Solomon's building of altars for idol worship. One of the primary points of interest on the Mount of Olives is a large Jewish cemetery dating back approximately 3,000 years with over 150,000 graves. Religious Jewish people desire to be buried on the Mount of Olives so that when the Messiah comes, they will be the first to be resurrected. Many famous Jewish scholars, politicians and rabbis including the Ramban, Henrietta Szold, Menahem Begin and Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik are buried on the Mount of Olives. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus campus is located on the northern edge of the Mount of Olives.
In the New Testament it is thought to be the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven. Because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the Mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and is today a major site of Christian pilgrimage for Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians. Important Christian pilgrimage sites found on or at the foot of the Mount of Olives include the Garden of Gethsemane (where Jesus spent his hour of agony after the Last Supper), the Church of all Nations built alongside the Garden in the Fourth Century, Pater Noster Church, Tomb of the Virgin Mary, Tomb of Absalom and Church of Mary Magdalene.