The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, sometimes also referred to as Mount Olivet is an important landmark, located next to the Old City of Jerusalem. The Mount of Olives refers to the ridge located east of the Old City and gets its name from the olive groves that at one time covered the land. A significant and meaningful landmark, the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem dates back to biblical times and is important to both Jews and Christians.
The best way to visit the Mount of olives is this Jerusalem Mount of Olives and Temple Mount Tour which departs from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv every Wednesday.
History of the Mount of Olives
Today, the Mount of Olives is used as a Jewish cemetery and has been for over 3,000 years, it holds some 150,000 graves. In fact, the Mount of Olives has been used as a burial location for Jews since biblical times, including the burial location for some of the most prominent biblical kings.
When the Second Temple was destroyed, the Jews used the Mount of Olives as a celebratory site for the holiday of Sukkot, and many other religious ceremonies and celebrations prior to the destruction of the temple. The mount was also a site for religious Jews making pilgrimages, as it is located above the Temple Mount, and offers one of the best views to do this day. In 1948, after the Arab-Israeli War, an agreement was signed between Jordan and Israel to establish access to the Mount of Olives. There was a 19-year annexation, where Jordan was in control of the area, and most Israelis were not permitted to enter Jordan, and therefore unable to visit the Mount of Olives. During this time, when the Jordanians ruled the area, some 38,000 graves were destroyed, and the area was developed with roads which also destroyed many burial locations.
It wasn’t until the Six-Day War in 1967 when the land went back to the Israelis and a series of efforts were made to restore the land, and the cemetery became functional for burials again. Today, the Mount of Olives offers one of the best views of Jerusalem and is visited by both locals and tourists alike.
Tours to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem
For those interested in visiting the Mount of Olives, our Jerusalem Mount of Olive and Temple Mount Tour is an excellent way to view the panoramic view and iconic sites. This tour which operates once a week offers hotel pick up in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya and Herzliya and visits sites that are holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the former site of the Holy Jewish Temple, the holiest site to Jews, and is also the third holiest site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. The Mount of Olives, with its Christian churches and Jewish cemetery, has immense symbolic relevance. Additionally, for those interested in an even more in-depth experience, private tours are available.
What to see at the Mount of Olives
Visitors of all religions come from around the world to visit the picturesque Mount of Olives and take in the stunning view from the top. Although it can be hard to reach the top on foot it is worth it to see the vantage point. The panoramic view showcasing the historic city of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount, the Valley of Hinnom and in the distance, the Judean Desert.
Some of the landmarks found on the Mount of Olives include the Augusta Victoria Hospital with the Lutheran Church of the Ascension and the iconic 50-meter bell tower. There is also the Russian Orthodox Church of the Ascension with its tall and visible white bell tower, Chapel of the Ascension, the Church of the Pater Noster, as well as the Seven Arches Hotel.
The Jewish cemetery is located on the western slope of the mount, along with the Tomb of the Prophets, the Catholic Church of Dominus Flevit, and the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene. Perhaps one of the most famous and visited points along the Mount of Olives is at the base, where the Kidron Valley connects and the Garden of Gethsemane with the Church of all Nations.
Visiting the Mount of Olives
Sunday-Thursday 9:00am- 5:00pm
The Information Center at the Mount of Olives is closed on Fridays and Holiday Evenings
Bathrooms are located onsite, free of charge
Join our Jerusalem Mount of Olives and Temple Mount Tour which departs from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv every Wednesday.