Jerusalem is called the Holy City because it is easily the holiest city in the world. Christianity, Islam and Judaism began here. Simply put, the world would have been different if Jerusalem did not exist. Even if you do come to visit to enjoy other attractions such as culture and arts, food, archeology and nature, you can’t help but feel the air of spirituality as you see so many religious landmarks. It’s simply amazing to see structures and places from the Bible, Torah and the Quran come to life. One of these places is the Mount of Olives, which is an extremely significant place in Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
The three Abrahamic religions point to the Mount of Olives as the place of Redemption and communion with God. The Jews wait for the Messiah to make his much waited appearance here. It is here and in Kidron Valley where they have buried their dead for 3,000 years. The Mt. of Olives Cemetery, called by the Jews as Har Hazeisim, is the oldest continuing burial ground in the world for the Jewish people. There are about 150,000 graves on the hillside, making Har Hazeisim the most popular Jewish cemetery and Judaism’s most holiest burial ground.
Christians remember the agony of Christ in this mount since this is where the Garden of Gethsemane is found. It is also here where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer and ascended back to heaven.
Meanwhile, Muslims also believe that this is the place of final judgment. They believe that someday a bridge with seven arches will connect the Mount of Olives to the Temple Mount.
Located in a valley just across Jerusalem’s Old City, the holy mount is a treasure trove for a number of religious attractions. As you climb the mount you are treated with a stunning view of the Temple Mount and immediately feel the air of spirituality. It is here where you find the Church of All Nations, Church of Mary Magdalene, Mt. of Olives Cemetery, Tomb of the Virgin Mary, and Chapel of the Ascension.
Christians believe that Mary was buried here deep underground. You can reach the shrine as you descend the rocky steps that were carved in the 12th century. The tomb of Mary, however, has been a subject of dispute through the years among Christians. Some point to another tomb on Mount Zion while others believe Mary bodily ascended to heaven like Jesus.
Meanwhile, the second holiest site in Jerusalem for Christians after the Sepulcher is the Chapel of the Ascension, which marks the spot where Christians believe Jesus ascended to heaven. However, this is not without controversy. Four nearby Christian churches claim that they got the place right and that the correct spot of the ascension happened where their churches stand. These are the Greek Orthodox Church of Viri Galilei, Russian Church of the Ascension, Church of Pater Noster, and the Lutheran Church of the Ascension.
The Chapel of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives is a multi-faith site since it is also here where the Jews believe the prophetess Hulda was buried and Muslims believe the remains of the mystic woman Rabia Al Adawiyeh rest.