Mount of Olives
- Et Tur
Lonely Planet review for Mount of Olives
Offering visitors a big slice of biblical history, along with some of the most spectacular views over Jerusalem, is the Mount of Olives. According to the Book of Zechariah, this is where God will start to redeem the dead when the Messiah returns on the Day of Judgement. In order to get a good place in line, Jews have always preferred to be buried here and to date some 150,000 people have been laid to rest on these slopes.
Aside from being the world's oldest continually used cemetery, there are many churches commemorating the events that are believed to have led to Jesus' arrest and his ascension to heaven.
Most of the Mount's churches and gardens are open in the morning, closing for at least two hours towards noon and reopening again in the mid-afternoon. However, the real draw and what makes a visit to the Mount of Olives a must is the panoramic view it affords of the Old City.
Up at the top, in front of the Seven Arches Hotel (the cause of much controversy as it was built by the Jordanians over part of the ancient Jewish cemetery) is a promenade for snap-happy visitors. The best light is in the early morning.
You can walk from East Jerusalem or from St Stephen's Gate in the Old City, or otherwise take the bus to avoid what most find to be quite a strenuous walk; Arab bus No 75 runs from the station on Sultan Suleyman St.