Mount Scopus and Surroundings Walking Tour (Self Guided), Jerusalem

Jerusalem is surrounded by hills. Mount Scopus, in the northeast of the city, offers the most splendid view of the Old City of Jerusalem. Its most visited landmarks are Ammunition Hill, a memorial of a great battle, the Hebrew University campus, with its botanical garden and amphitheater, a military cemetery and a few others. This self-guided tour will lead you to the following Mount Scopus sights:
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Mount Scopus and Surroundings Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Mount Scopus and Surroundings Walking Tour
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 km
Author: vickyc
Ammunition Hill

1) Ammunition Hill

Ammunition Hill is the site of a bloody fight between Israeli paratroopers and Jordanian legionnaires during the Six Day War in 1967. This occurred to connect Mount Scopus back to central Jerusalem for reunification. The battle claimed 37 Israeli lives and a total of 183 soldiers died during the Six Day War. Their names are memorialized here on a wall and a ceremony is held on Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day).

The area sits between two modern neighborhoods called French Hill and Ramat Eshkol. New recruits into the Israeli Defense Force are inducted here. An underground bunker that was the living quarters for the Jordanian troops has been turned into the museum. The museum depicts the fighting that raged here and it was the actions of those at Ammunition Hill that allowed the Israeli troops to forge ahead into the Old City.

Jordanian troop strength was severely underestimated, and the Israeli paratroopers were surprised by a troop strength that was twice as large as anticipated. Reinforcements were brought in and the battle was won, and the surge to reunify Jerusalem was on. The entire battle for the liberation of Jerusalem is detailed over the course of the Six Day War. Also at the museum are exhibits on Jewish resistance to the Nazi regime that occurred during World War II.

Around the grounds the trenches and fortifications are very well preserved. It is not unusual to see fresh flowers that are laid around the memorials to the fallen soldiers.

Admission is free and the hours are 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.
British Military Cemetery on Mount Scopus

2) British Military Cemetery on Mount Scopus

British Military Cemetery on Mount Scopus is a final resting place for more than 3,000 British troops. These soldiers were killed during the Palestine campaign that took place in 1916-1917. The grounds are immaculately kept and the simple burial stones make the stark reality of war very real. The stones have name, age and the date of the soldier’s death on them. The unit insignia is also on the stone.

The cemetery is set according to the Imperial War Graves Commission. The commission is now bears the title of Commonwealth rather than Imperial, but it was the first real attempt of making a unified approach at burying the dead who had fallen on foreign soil.

A memorial chapel is also on the grounds to commemorate the thousands who are missing in action and who died without receiving a proper burial. The Star of David marks the graves of the 24 British soldiers who were also Jewish and buried here. The troops buried here are part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under the command of General Allenby.

Visitation is free and open to the public.
Hebrew University

3) Hebrew University

The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. It is the second oldest university in Israel, and established in 1918. The idea of a Jewish University was first proposed in the 1880s, but it took awhile for the project to take shape. The opening day was in 1925 and soon a medical school was taking shape followed rapidly by a law school and an agricultural institute.

Unfortunately, in 1948 a convoy was attacked bringing medical supplies between Jerusalem and the hospital during the Arab-Israeli War. 79 doctors and nurses were slain and the campus at Mount Scopus was closed. Two more campuses were built around Jerusalem to house students and continue studies, one at Givat Ram and the other in Ein Kerem.

After the Six-Days War, the Mount Scopus campus was rebuilt and again was functioning as part of the Hebrew University. Ranking within the top 100 best universities in the world, seven graduates in the last decade have received the Nobel Prize and the Fields Medal for mathematics. It is also home to the Jewish National and University Library which has one of the most impressive collections of written word in the world. The Albert Einstein archives are located here. Dr. Einstein was on the first board of governors and left all his personal papers to the University in his will.
BYU Jerusalem Center

4) BYU Jerusalem Center

The Brigham Young University (BYU) Jerusalem Center is an outgrowth of the LDS Church’s semester abroad program. Students that study at BYU, BYU-Idaho, or BYU-Hawaii can come here to study for a semester. Additionally, the center also is there for any Mormon pilgrim in Israel who needs assistance or wishes to worship.

There was severe opposition to the building of the facility initially. Its prominent position on the skyline of the Mount of Olives probably did not help its cause. After some discussions, the center was allowed to be built; however, the Mormon’s had to promise not to proselytize while in the country. This was agreed to and the building was completed in 1989.

There was a period of political unrest from 2001 through 2006 and no students were allowed to study here. Other functions were allowed such as concerts and tours, and finally students were allowed back to study the fall semester of 2006. Students wishing to utilize the program must be single, promise not to proselytize, and have an adequate grade point average.

The facility is a beautiful modern building that fits into the area with large archways, cupolas, and light colored stone construction. Landscaping includes that were mentioned in the bible. Areas of study include archaeology, Judaism, Islam, and international relations.
Augusta Victoria Hospital and Church

5) Augusta Victoria Hospital and Church

The Augusta Victoria Hospital and Church was built in 1907 at the behest of the German Protestant community in Israel. It is located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Named after Augusta Viktoria the wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II it was intended as a place of rest or a hospice for visiting German pilgrims.

The centerpiece of the building is the bell tower that stands 213 feet in the air. Four large bells occupy the tower. The bells were built in Germany and then transported to Jerusalem. The weight of the bells was so heavy, the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem had to be first widened and then paved to accommodate the load. Electricity was provided to the site by way of a diesel generator and it was the first building to have electricity in the country.

The hospice was converted to a hospital in WWI and it has stayed that way for the majority of the time since. The hospital today is one of the largest hospitals in the area and serves as a pediatric oncology specialty unit for Palestinian children.

The church is full of lovely decorated domes and art work. The Lutheran Church of the Redeemer has its rectory on the grounds as well as offices for the Lutheran World Federation. The Church is open to the public and shouldn’t be missed when visiting the Mount of Olives.

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