At 820 meters above sea level, the Mount Olives and Mount Scopus range together are the watershed of Jerusalem. To the east – the Judean Desert and Dead Sea. To the west – the city and ultimately, the Mediterranean. During both the First and┬áSecond Temple┬áperiods Mount Olives served as a Jewish cemetery. While it was under Jordanian control, between 1948 and 1967, and inaccessible to Jews the cemetery was desecrated and a road built through it, but it is once again in use.

In the Kidron Valley below, also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat, there are a number of two thousand year old monumental tombs but in the absence of inscriptions there is no certainty as to who lays buried there.

Christian pilgrims walking from the Byzantine place of the Ascension in the grounds of a mosque on the top of Mount Olives pass the Churches of Pater Noster, Dominus Flevit, Mary Magdalene and end their walk at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Text content copyrights: Bein Harim Ltd., Beryl Ratzer (www.ratzer.com)

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