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Mt. of Olives Observation Point
Mt. of Olives Observation Point Review
This is the classic panoramic view of the Old City: looking across the Kidron Valley over the gold Dome of the Rock. It's best in the early morning, with the sun at your back, or at sunset on days with some clouds, when the golden glow can compensate for the glare.
The Mt. of Olives has been bathed in sanctity for millennia. On the slope beneath you, and off to your left, is the vast Jewish cemetery, reputedly the oldest still in use anywhere in the world. For more than 2,000 years, Jews have been buried here to await the coming of the Messiah and the resurrection to follow. The raised structures over the graves are merely tomb markers, not crypts; burial is belowground.
In the Old City wall facing you, and just to the right of the Dome of the Rock, is the blocked-up, double-arched Gates of Mercy, also known as the Golden Gate or the Eastern Gate. Jewish tradition holds that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem this way; Christian tradition says he already did, on Palm Sunday. To the south of the Dome of the Rock is the black-domed al-Aqsa Mosque, and behind it the stone arches and large white synagogue dome of the Jewish Quarter. Some distance behind the Dome of the Rock is the large, gray dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. To the left of the Old City, the cone-roof Dormition Abbey and its adjacent clock tower mark the top of Mt. Zion, today outside the walls but within the city of the Second Temple period.
Camel and donkey drivers (usually one of each) are always pushing to give you a short ride (not cheap!), and the vendors can be persistent, but a polite "no thank you" is sometimes enough for them to go bother someone else. The frequent police presence has made the locals less aggressive, but still beware of pickpockets here and on the road down to Gethsemane. Fairly good bathrooms are a welcome addition.
- Address: E-Sheikh St., opposite Seven Arches Hotel, Mt. of Olives, Jerusalem, 97916
- Location: Mt. of Olives and East Jerusalem
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