Jerusalem From The South

Jerusalem From The South

This view from the Armon Hanatziv Promenade offers a fantastic view of the old city, new city and surrounding area and hills of Jerusalem. The Armon Hanatziv Promenade is one of three promenades located in South-East Jerusalem. Named after the British High Commissioner’s Palace that stood nearby, the promenade offers incredible panoramic views of the Old City Basin, Mount Zion, Mount of Olives, the Judean Desert and western sections of the city. The promenades, in particular the observation Haas Promenade, are an integral part of any tour of Jerusalem and serving as a place for gathering and recreation as well.

Dormition Monastery (Church of Dormition)

Located on the top of mount Zion, this German Benedictine abbey was erected on the site where according to tradition the Virgin Mary had died.

This site lay in ruins from the 7th to the end of the 12th Century, and was rebuilt by the Crusaders at the turn of the century. The monastery was destroyed once more during the fall of the Crusaders Kingdom and was left out of the Jerusalem city walls built by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th Century. The site was thus neglected and used as burial grounds. During his visit to the Holy land in 1898 AD, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II received the land as a gift from the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid. German reconstruction of the monastery began in 1901 and included a large church, a bell tower and other structures needed for the everyday work of monastery. The construction was completed in 1910 and the compound was named "Dormitio Beatae Mariae Virginis" which means "Holy sleep of Virgin Mary" - “Dormition” in short.

Inside the Church is an apse commemorating Jesus, Mary and some of the prophets. At the center of the hall is a mosaic depicting 3 rings symbolizing the ‘Holy Trinity’ and in the crypt an icon of Mary made of ivory and cherry tree wood can be found.

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design

Over 1500 students attend the Bezalel Academy of Art today, studying architecture, ceramic design, art and crafts, fashion, photography, Visual communication and more.

The Idea to found a school for the arts in the Holy Land was conceived by Professor Boris Schatz in Bulgaria in 1903. Promoted by the Zionist congress, the school was established in 1906 in the modern-day center of Jerusalem and was headed by Schatz himself. During the First World War, the school was shut down but soon after reopened and flourished, attracting students and professors from around the world. In 1982 an agreement was signed with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem to build the new main building for the Bezalel Academy of Art on the Mount Scopus campus, which remains its current location to this day.

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem

With over 23,000 students, 9 different faculties and 3 campus sites in Jerusalem the Hebrew University is the leading University in Israel today and the hub for student life in Jerusalem.

The decision to establish the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem was finalized in 1913 during the 11th Zionist Congress. The gates of the University were opened in 1925 in a festive ceremony that included dignitaries, scientists and scholars from around the world. A board of Governors was created to ensure the University’s continuous funding and activities and included notable figures such as Professor Albert Einstein, Dr. Sigmund Freud, Dr. Haim Weizman, Martin Buber and more.

Due to its strategic location, Mt. Scopus became a battle ground between 1948 and 1967, forcing the University to move to an alternative location. In 1958 the new central Hebrew University campus on Mount Ram in west Jerusalem was inaugurated. The main Hebrew University campus returned to Mount Scopus in 1981 after extensive reconstruction and serves as the main campus site to this day.

Mount of Olives

Named after the olive trees that once filled its slopes, The Mount of Olives has historically been the natural eastern border of Jerusalem, separating the city from the Judean Desert. Its close proximity to Jerusalem instilled the mountain with religious and mythical importance in Judaism and Christianity and as such mentioned often in the old and new testament.

Within Jewish Theology, Mt. Olives plays a central role in the messianic redemption as some believe the Messiah himself will descend from the mountain to Jerusalem. According to Christian theology, Jesus had delivered sermons on the mount and this is the location of the Ascension of Jesus to the heavens.

The soft rock of the mountain combined with the belief that the end-of-days salvation shall begin on the Mount of Olives, has made the Mountain a popular burial site for many Jews such as the former Israeli Prime minister Menachem Begin. Famous Tombs and sites on the Mountain include Tomb of Zechariah, the Church of all Nations, the Church of Mary Magdalene, the Chapel of Ascension and Mary’s Tomb.

Church of Mary Magdalene

Located on the Mount of Olives, the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene was built in 1888 by the Russian Tsar Alexander the 3rd commemorating Mary Magdalene, one of the disciples of Jesus. The church was designed in the tented roof style popular in Russia in the 16th and 17th century while the newly refurbished 7 golden domes of the church add great splendor and uniqueness to its surrounding. Buried there are princess Alice of Greece whose remains were transferred there in 1988, as well as the Martyred nuns Varvara Yakovleva and the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia.

The Hurva synagogue

The Hurva Synagogue, located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was first established in 1700 by a group of European Jews who came to the Holy Land under the leadership of Rabbi Yehuda Hachassid. Due to their failure to return the loans taken for building the synagogue, the creditors destroyed the synagogue in 1721 giving it its name “Hurva” which means “Ruin” in Hebrew. The site remained mostly desolated until 1856 when it was rebuilt with the financial aid of Moses Montefiore. The synagogue was built in the neo-Byzantine style popular at that time in the Ottoman Empire which can be seen in the arches and dome roof. The synagogue was demolished once more during the 1948 War by the Jordanian forces and remained so until 2010 when it was newly reconstructed according to the original neo-Byzantine style of the 19th century.

Dome of the Rock

Built by Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik in 691 AD, the Dome of the Rock is the most famous Muslim site in Jerusalem and has become an inseparable part of the Jerusalem skyline. Similarly to the Ka’ba in Mecca, The Dome is not a Mosque but a shrine built over a sacred stone, known as the “Foundation Stone”, from which, according to Islamic tradition, Muhammad had ascended to the heavens in “The Night Journey”. It is also believed to be the site on which Abraham had almost sacrificed Ishmael (not Isaac as is believed in Christianity and Judaism).

Due to its magnificent golden dome and sheer size, the Dome of the Rock can be seen from almost every vantage point in Jerusalem thus fulfilling its architectural purpose – to symbolize Islamic superiority and overshadow the Jewish and Christian monuments in the area. Originally made of gold, the dome has since been replaced with copper and aluminum and is now gold-plated. The dome is an octagon structure built according to specific and exact mathematically rhythmic proportions, e.g. the length of the outer wall is identical to the diameter of the dome and height of the dome. Colorful tiles from Turkey and Arabic inscriptions with excerpts from the Quran adorn the exterior facade of the dome giving it a distinctive greenish-blue tint.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

Literally translated as “The Distant Mosque”, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located nearby the dome of the rock and is the third most holy site in Sunni Islam. According to Muslim tradition, during “The Night Journey” Muhammad traveled from the Mosque in Mecca to Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Originally the Al-Aqsa mosque was a small prayer house erected in 710 AD. It was expanded and rebuilt 5 times over the years due to damage caused by earthquakes and wars. As the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099, they converted the Mosque into the headquarters of the Knights Templar and served as a church and palace for the Crusader kings. In 1187 Saladin restored its status as a mosque and it has been repaired and renovated by the Ayyubis, Mamluks, Ottomans and various Islamic bodies and organizations ever since. In 1951 the Jordanian King Abdullah was assassinated in the southern part of the mosque. Despite its silver dome paling in comparison to the dome of the rock, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is rich with ornaments and serves as an interesting blend of different architectural styles and periods. The mosque has the capacity to host over 5000 worshipers and is administered by the Islamic Waqf.

Convent of the Ascension

On the very top of the Mt. of Olives, stands the Russian Orthodox Convent of the Ascension. According to Christian Orthodox tradition, this is the site where Jesus had ascended to heaven after his resurrection.

The construction of the church and bell tower was completed in 1887 and replaced two Armenian churches from the Byzantine period which were built in the 5th Century AD. The convent includes the Church, the Chapel of St. John the Baptist and the remarkable bell tower. Behind the neo-Byzantine styled Church, is a rock surrounded by a blue fence which is said to mark the spot where the Virgin Mary stood as Jesus rose to Heaven. The Chapel of St. John the Baptist was built on the site where some believe the head of St. John the Baptist, decapitated by King Herod, was found in the 4th Century. A small cage inside the chapel marks the exact spot where it is said his head lay and a beautiful mosaic floor from the original chapel has been uncovered and preserved. The 64 meter high bell tower symbolizes the Ascension of Jesus and was the first Christian bell to ring in the Holy City during the Ottoman rule of the Holy Land.

The Church of All Nations

The Church of All Nations, or by its official name the ‘Basilica of the Agony’, is a catholic Franciscan church built in 1924 on the ruins of previous Byzantine and Crusader churches. Located on the bottom slopes of the Mount of Olives above the gardens of Gethsemane, the church enshrines the rock which is said to be the rock upon which Jesus prayed in agony on the night of his arrest. The church received its later name due to the different nations that contributed to the erection of the church. The ceiling of the church is comprised of 12 capes symbolizing the 11 apostles and Jesus and also carrying the seal of each nation that helped build the church. A magnificent mosaic adorns the entrance to the church depicting the story of Gethsemane.

The City of David

The City of David is an archaeological site where ancient Jerusalem resided in the times of King David and King Solomon. Despite being outside the current Ottoman city walls, it is where the city of Jerusalem had begun over 3000 years ago. It remained settled up to medieval times and was resettled at the height of the Ottoman rule. Today the Arab-Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan stands on the ground of ancient city of Jerusalem which has been a cause of friction between Jews and Muslims in east Jerusalem. Although very little remained from the City of David and much needs to be left to the imagination, excavations are continuously ongoing and new artifacts and structures are always being found.

Neighborhood of Abu Tor

– Arabic for ‘Father of the Bull’ the neighborhood of Abu Tor was named after a general in Saladin’s army who rode beside him mounted on a bull. According to some legends, the hill on which Abu-Tor is situated is the place where Judas Iscariot plotted with the Romans against Jesus. Until 1967, the border between Jordon and Israel ran through Abu Tor. The Neighborhood was developed towards the end of the 19th Century and its residents are a mixture of Jewish, Muslim and international residents.

Leonardo Plaza Hotel

Located at the center of Jerusalem and towering over the Jerusalem skyline, the Leonardo Plaza Hotel is one of the best viewpoints of the old and new city of Jerusalem. The Hotel stands diagonally across the Terra Sancta College on the junction of Paris Square, and right by the lively neighborhood of Rechavia.

King David Hotel

Perhaps the most famous of the Jerusalem hotels, the King David Hotel is a five star deluxe hotel and landmark in Jerusalem. The hotel was built in 1931 overlooking Mount Zion and the Old City and has since hosted many dignitaries, heads of state and influential figures from around the globe such as King Hussein of Jordon, King George the 5th, Bill Clinton, Winston Churchill and Madonna. The hotel is an inseparable part of the history of Jerusalem and was even bombed by the Jewish militant group “Irgun” in 1946 while it served as the British military headquarters during the British mandate (1920-1948).


Located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in the valley between the Mountain and the Old city, Gethsemane is believed to be the spot where Jesus and his disciples prayed the night before his crucifixion.

Literally meaning “oil press” in Aramaic and Hebrew, Gethsemane had historically been used for the manufacturing olive oil, a fact still evident by the luscious olive trees that adorn the valley. According to the New Testament, Jesus and his Apostles had often frequented the Valley of Gethsemane for prayer, reflection and teachings, which in turn enabled Judas Iscariot to lead the Roman troops directly to Jesus for his capture. Overlooking the valley are the ‘Church of all Nations’ and the ‘Church of Mary Magdalene’. Gethsemane serves today as a popular pilgrimage site with a charming ancient olive tree garden surrounded by a stone wall.

The Tower of David

This fortress has served as the headquarters rulers of Jerusalem since its construction by King Herod to, and including, the times of Ottoman Empire rule over the Holy Land. The fortress has been converted into a captivating museum which tells the historical story of the Holy City. Models of significant structures, relics and a magnificent viewpoint of west and east Jerusalem can be seen in the Tower of David Museum, as well as modern exhibition such as the light festival and “The Night Spectacular”.

Dominus Flevit Church

Located on the Mount of Olives and shaped like a tear drop, this Franciscan church marks the site where according to tradition Jesus mourned and wept over the future destruction of Jerusalem. The Latin name of the church translates as ‘The lord Wept’ and it is one of the newest churches in Jerusalem, built in 1953. The church has a beautiful courtyard and a breathtaking view of Old City of Jerusalem.

Augusta Victoria Hospital

Augusta Victoria Hospital is a Hospital and Church located on the Mount of Olives. Named after the wife of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II, who promoted the construction, the Augusta Victoria Hospital was inaugurated as a hospice and rest home in 1910.

The structure was the most modern building in Jerusalem at the time being the first in the Holy Land to have functioning electricity. It served as the center for the German Protestant Community in Palestine under the Ottoman rule and the German military headquarters during the First World War, as well as the residence of the British High Commissioner in the years 1920-1927. During the Second World War, Augusta Victoria served as a military Hospital for the British forces. After 1948 the hospital primarily aided Palestinian refugees and was run by the Red Cross until handed over to the Lutheran World Federation in 1950.

Since then the Augusta Victoria Hospital services the Palestinian Community and works in cooperation with the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, UNWRA. The compound includes a tall bell tower, a three story building surrounded by a beautiful garden and a Church.

Church of the Pater Noster

Latin for ‘Our Father’, This Roman Catholic church, located on the Mount of Olives, is the traditional site where Jesus taught his disciples the ‘Lord’s Prayer’. The church is built on the site where once stood a basilica built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. He built the basilica under the direction of Helena, his mother, in commemoration of the ascension of Jesus.

The church’s outer corridor is ordained plaques made of Armenian pottery depicting the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in over 60 different languages – from Latin to Japanese

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