Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem, Jerusalem (Self Guided)

The Mount of Olives is on the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem. Here you will see the magnificent churches that are also biblical sites, a very old cemetery with tombs of the Prophets. For many people this is a holy place as God is always present here. The following self-guided tour will lead you through the Mount of Olives landmarks:
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Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem Map

Guide Name: Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
Author: vickyc
1
Pater Noster Church

1) Pater Noster Church

The Pater Noster Church is built on the site in Jerusalem where Jesus was thought to have taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. The name in Latin means “Our Father.” It is almost impossible to tell if this spot is the exact location of the teaching, we only know that the he did teach in a cave on the Mount of Olives.

The first church to be built on this site was commissioned by Constantine in 330, and that church suffered heavy damage in 614 at the hands of the Persians. The Crusaders built a small oratory, or place of worship that is not intended for the public, on the site amid the rubble in 1106. That location was badly damaged in 1187 and finally left to ruin in 1345. In 1874 reconstruction was begun and still remains unfinished.

The rebuild was the work of the Princess de La Tour d‘Auvergne. She loved the Lord’s Prayer and had it added to several of the tile plaques there. She was very sure the cave existed, but it was not found before her death. Her remains now rest at the Pater Noster Church in the tomb.

There are, however, still lots to see at the church, including 62 exquisitely tiled plaques that have the Lord’s Prayer written in 62 different languages. Even though just partially rebuilt, the original size of the church has been maintained. There are steps leading into the grotto where the teachings were said to have occurred. Sadly, very little of the original stone work still remain. There is also a garden that stands outside the three doors that give an accurate idea of how large the atrium was.

There are no entrance fees to see the Church, hours are M-Sat: 8:30-11:45; 3-5. It is closed on Sunday.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Chapel of the Ascension

2) Chapel of the Ascension (must see)

The Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem is a house of worship that is sacred to both Christians and Muslims. It is believed to mark the place where Jesus ascended into heaven. In addition, there is a stone located here that supposedly is an imprint of Jesus’ feet.

Before the point in history where Emperor Constantine was converted to the faith, early believers held special celebrations honoring Christ’s return to heaven in a small cave located on the Mount of Olives. Most likely, the cavern was used for safety and security of the worshippers. By circa 380, though, the place was well known as the location of Jesus’ return to heaven. This was even recorded in the annals of history by the noted writer Egeria.

The first official house of worship was built here around 390 by Poimenia, who was a famous Roman Lady of means. The original church was leveled during a war with Persia around 613. Modestus had it restored not soon after. By 680 A.D. there are historical records that pointed to the fact the place was reported to have the footprints of Jesus. Pilgrims would even take home dust from the place as a religious relic.

A church with the famous eight sides was built by the Crusaders circa 1150. In 1198, Salah al-Din was instrumental in the addition of a stone dome and mihrab. Muslims consider the place to be holy, despite the lack of any mention of the event in the Qu’ran. The event of Jesus’ ascension is also considered to be factual. The place continued to be a mosque for many centuries to come.

The building fell into ruin through the years. The east section of the wall was sealed off to form the shrine that stands to this very day. A mosque was built next to the chapel. This happened in 1620; all the property is still in Muslim hands.

Tip:
If you want to visit this place, try to do so when there are not too many people inside. Also, try to come before or after prayer time (before or after noon).
3
Old Jewish Cemetery

3) Old Jewish Cemetery

The Old Jewish Cemetery is on the western and southern slopes of the Mount of Olives. It is the oldest continually used Jewish Cemetery in the world. Jewish legend says that those buried on the Mount of Olives will be the first to be resurrected when the Messiah comes.

The oldest tombs in the cemetery are located at the foot of the Mount in the Kidron Valley. Absalom, the son of David is thought to be buried here as well as Zechariah, the priest of the First Temple. One of the tombs has an inscription bearing the name of a family that lived 2,000 years ago. Burials have continued. They are only being interrupted during the period between the Arab-Israeli war and the Six Day War (1948-1967). Meacham Begin and his wife Eliza are buried here as well as Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura.

There is a visitor’s center near Absalom’s Tomb that is an invaluable stop if looking for a particular tomb or grave. Visitors can enter from several different points on the paved road from the top of the Mount of Olives to the bottom of the Mount ending at the Basilica of the Agony.

Traditionally, a stone is placed on the cenotaph or grave stone to denote a visit.
4
Church of St. Mary Magdalene

4) Church of St. Mary Magdalene

The Church of St. Mary Magdalene is a beautiful Russian Orthodox house of worship in Jerusalem. It is located on the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and was built in 1886 under the direction of Tsar Alexander III. He built the church to honor his mother, and dedicated it to Mary Magdalene.

The church is built in classic 17th century Russian style and has seven onion domes that are gilded. They are quite impressive. The building is easily visible from points around Jerusalem; however, it really deserves a stop while visiting the city. Inside the church are several murals that depict the life of Mary Magdalene. Also in the church is an icon of the Mother of God. There have been miracle healings attributed to this place.

The Church of St. Mary Magdalene is the resting place for Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia who was martyred along with another nun during the Russian Revolution in 1917. Also buried here is Princess Alice of Battenberg who was also known as Princess Andrew of Greece. She was responsible for harboring Jews when the Nazis occupied her country, in order to help keep them alive. She is also the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
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Garden of Gethsemane

5) Garden of Gethsemane (must see)

The Garden of Gethsemane lies at the bottom of the Mount of Olives. The name means “oil press” and most certainly refers to the fact that this area was used to press olive oil in the time of Jesus. It is now walled, but it is still a lovely place to visit and perhaps pray.

The Church of All Nations was built here in 1924. This house of worship is also known as the Basilica of the Agony. Two other holy places have also occupied this spot. One was a Byzantine-style building built in the fourth century and destroyed around 750. The Crusaders built a chapel on the spot in the 12 century which also was demolished.

The Garden of Gethsemane still has olive trees on the grounds. Although there is some dispute about exactly how old they are, there may be some on the grounds that were around during the time of Jesus. There is some evidence that the original plants were destroyed by fighting and in an effort to destroy this very religious place, but the general consensus is that some of the roots did survive.

Olive trees have a long life span, so it is not an outrageous thought that some of them shaded the grounds then, just as they do today. These plants grow wider instead of taller, so the very wide ones are the oldest. They still produce fruit and are harvested in late September or early October. As you leave, you might want to offer the gatekeeper a few shekels for a stroll through the private garden.

This beautiful Garden is where Jesus and the disciples came to pray. He was said to have prayed so reverently at one time that he sweat blood. He most likely entered the city on Palm Sunday, by going through this place, through the gate that has long since been walled up. This is also the location of the famous betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

Tip:
Make sure you cover up (shoulders covered and shorts come below your knees, etc.) or you will be refused entry.
6
Mary's Tomb

6) Mary's Tomb (must see)

Mary’s Tomb is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in the Kidron Valley. This is the traditional place of the burial for Mary, the mother of Jesus according to Eastern Christian thinking. The burial cave was first cut out of rock in the 1st century CE although the date of the cave has never been verified. A cross-shaped church was added with the tomb at its center.

In the 6th century, a church was built on top of the tomb. This was destroyed in 614. The Crusaders rebuilt the church and enlarged it. The Abbey of St. Mary of the Valley of Jehoshaphat was also added. Saladin destroyed the church and monastery in 1187. However, during all of these conquests and destruction St. Mary’s Tomb was left untouched. Because Mary is the mother of Jesus who is considered a prophet to Muslims, the crypt was left untouched, and well preserved over the centuries.

In the 14th century CE the church now standing was built and it is currently occupied by the Greek Orthodox Church. Inside the church are several chapels. The chapel of St. Joseph, Mary’s husband, and the chapel of Joachim and Anne, Mary’s parents are there as well as the tomb of Queen Melisende of Jerusalem. On the other side of the church (east) is the chapel of Mary’s Tomb. There is a mihrab there indicating the direction of Mecca, and Muslims are granted use of this area to pray. There are three holes cut into the wall of the tomb to allow visitors to actually be able to touch the inside.

Why You Should Visit:
The tomb is very well maintained and it is certainly something Christians should like to see.
The church is the only one in the world where you go DOWN the steps to enter.

Admission is free and it is open from 6 until noon, closing for lunch like many Holy Sites and re-opening from 2:30-5pm.
7
Tomb of Zechariah

7) Tomb of Zechariah

The Tomb of Zechariah is located in the Kidron valley at the foot of the Mount of Olives. There are several monuments in this area, but this is the only one capped with a triangular shape. This grand monument is cared entirely of rock and in fact is carved out of the mountainside of rock. It was truly a grand feat to accomplish and was probably cut in the 1st century BCE. There is written documentation of the site in 1215 CE.

Zechariah lived in the 9th century BCE and was the son of the priest, Jehoiada. He was stoned to death in the First Temple after warning the people about not obeying the commandments. King Yoash ordered the death sentence. Jewish tradition says this is his burial place. There was also a prophet named Zehariah who lived in the 6th century BCE in the Second Temple period who should not be confused with the son of Jehoiada.

Prayers are often offered at this site especially during the month of AV. Stories abound of prayers for rain being answered when praying at this site. The Tomb sits amid a large Jewish cemetery. The opening at the bottom was discovered while clearing away brush and debris. Next to this site are several other tombs known as the Bnei-Hezir.
8
Tomb of Benei Hezir

8) Tomb of Benei Hezir

The Bnei Hazir tomb is the oldest of four burial monuments which stand in the Kidron Valley, Jerusalem and date to the period of the Second Temple. It is a complex of burial caves. The tomb was originally accessed from a single rock-cut stair-well which descends to the tomb from the north. At a later period of time an additional entrance was created by quarying a tunnel from the courtyard of the Tomb of Zechariah. This is also the contemporary entrance to the burial complex. The facade of the tomb is a classical dystillos-in-antis two pillars between two pilasters above which there is an undecorated architrave containing an engraved Hebrew inscription. Above the architrave there is a Doric frieze and a cornice. The tomb's architectural style is influenced by ancient Greek architecture only (two pillars with Dorian capitals), without ancient Egyptian architectural influences.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Jerusalem without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Jerusalem, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Kids Self-Guided Tour of Jerusalem

Kids Self-Guided Tour of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is also a city of much fun. Both your children and you will enjoy the unique and unforgettable experiences that you can have in the Bible lands historical museum, the youth wing of the Israel Museum, and Jerusalem's fascinating playgrounds. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most visited children's attractions of Jerusalem.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 km
New Jerusalem Walking Tour

New Jerusalem Walking Tour

West Jerusalem or New Jerusalem is made up entirely of westernized, modern neighborhoods. This part of the city was built around the wall of the Old Jerusalem city. The following self-guided tour will lead you to some interesting streets, art galleries, museums and shops in New Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Cultural Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Cultural Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Jerusalem is considered holy by the all the three major monotheistic religions in the world - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city is full of history and culture. The following self-guided tour will take you through some of the most visited landmarks in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Nightlife Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Nightlife Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Jerusalem has a reputation as one of the foremost religious and cultural centers of the world. What is less known is that it has an interesting night life as well. This self-guided tour will lead you to some nightclubs where you can experience the pulsating nightlife of Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Famous Architecture of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Famous Architecture of Jerusalem Walking Tour

Traditionally, Jerusalem was said to be the center of the universe. It is a very old city with many ancient buildings, with architecture dating back to Roman times and later reflecting both European and Islamic influences. The following self-guided tour will take you to the most interesting architectural highlights of Jerusalem.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.1 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

16 Uniquely Israel Things to Buy in Jerusalem

Modern day Jerusalem is a mosaic of neighborhoods, reflecting different historical periods, cultures, and religions. The influx of repatriates in recent years has made the cultural and artisanal scene of the city even more colourful and diverse. To find your way through Jerusalem's intricate...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Jerusalem for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Jerusalem has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Jerusalem's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Jerusalem City Pass by Ticketbar, Jerusalem City Pass by Musement, or Jerusalem City Pass by Viator.

A city pass combines all Jerusalem's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows user to skip lines at major attractions, thus saving precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Jerusalem hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Leonardo Plaza Hotel Jerusalem, The David Citadel Hotel, Prima Kings Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Jerusalem, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Jerusalem typically costs somewhere between US$10+ and US$90 per person:

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Jerusalem – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

- Provoke your contemplating eternal matters on a mixed (coach and walking) tour of Jerusalem, the city where the ancient and religious are intertwined more than anywhere else in the world. With the help of an expert guide try and perceive the profound meaning and context behind the holy Christian and Jewish sites of Old and New Jerusalem.

- Visit the places that once saw Jesus Christ in flesh, feel the tales of the Bible become real on a walking tour of Jerusalem led by a knowledgeable local guide. Walk the stones of Via Dolorosa in the footsteps of the Messiah to his crucifixion and learn more about that pivotal day in human history.

- Explore the city of three religions through the eyes of Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshipers on a 4-hour guided walk of Old Jerusalem to the holy places and landmarks revered in Islam, Judaism and Christianity, and learn about the religious beliefs associated with them.

- Tantalize your taste buds with the scents and sights of exotic delicacies fit to arouse anyone's appetite on a 3-hour guided tour of Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s biggest outdoor market! Explore the city's favorite marketplace in its variety.

- Descend into the unknown, at least until recently, deep beneath the ground to explore the ancient roots of Jerusalem on a 1.5-hour guided tour through the centuries-old tunnel dating back to the times of the Second Temple. Get a chance to touch and hear about some truly incredible artifacts found here, and more.

Day Trips


If you have a full or half day to spare whilst in Jerusalem, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Bethlehem and Jericho, Masada and the Dead Sea, Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, or the West Bank. For as little as as circa US$100 to US$125 per person you will get a chance to experience first-hand the ancient and Biblical treasures, discover fascinating religious history, see the fabled Biblical and Nativity sites, scenes of the New Testament stories including places where Jesus performed miracles, plus explore legendary ruins, and so much more. For any of these tours you will be picked up either straight from your hotel or a designated place in Jerusalem, and transported either by a comfortable air-conditioned coach, minibus or a private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.