Located on the eastern slopes of the Jerusalem mountains and set in relative isolation separated from the Temple Mount and the City of David by the Kidron Valley, the Mount of Olives is named after the olive trees that covered its grounds in Biblical times.
A must-see destination when on a tour to the Holy Land, the Mount of Olives provides quite a few attractions in the way of chapels and monasteries. None of these attractions is more breathtaking, however, than the view seen from atop the Mount of Olives. Indeed, standing at the top of the mountain, the city of Jerusalem spread out below, one can all but feel the Biblical tales come alive. From up here wilderness and urbanity come together, merging a view of the Old City with the Kidron Valley, Mount Moriah with the Temple Mount and Mount Zion with the modern structures of contemporary Jerusalem. The result is a one of kind vista not to be missed by anyone on a Bible Land tour to Israel.
At the foot of the mountain range, adjacent to the Church of All Nations and directly opposite from the Temple Mount, visitors will find the Garden of Gethsemane - a beautifully kept olive garden featuring trees over 2000 years old. But it is not only the garden's beauty that makes it an prime attraction for Christian tours, if not also its immense significance to the Christian world. For it was here, amongst these ancient olive trees, that Christ prayed before God for the very last time before being betrayed by Judas.
Mount of Olives - The Church of All Nations
Like the majority of Christian shrines in the Middle East, the Church of All Nations (also known as the Basilica of agony) is run by the Roman Catholic Church. Nevertheless, it is a remarkable sight, well worth a visit for Protestants on a Christian tour to Israel.
With its Byzantine architecture and its awe-inspiring mosaics, the Church of All Nations is situated by the Garden of Gethsemane, and was erected in memory of Jesus' final prayer before crucifixion.
True to its namesake, the Church of All Nations was built thanks to donations provided by many different countries. In honor of the countries which helped build the church, their symbols where embed into its ceiling.
Mount of Olives - The Resurrection of Lazarus
On the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, just outside Jerusalem, is the Palestinian village of Al-Eizariya, better known to as Bethany. According to the gospel of John, this was the dwelling place of Lazarus (the reborn peasant), his two sisters Mary and Martha, and Simon the Leper.
At the site of Lazarus' tomb, where the peasant lay dead for four days before Jesus came to his rescue, visitors can reenact the tale of Lazarus' rising from the dead by entering his tomb only to exit it as he did—alive.
When so doing, visitors may contemplate the moral of the legend of Lazarus. Much like the rich man who was punished because he was not grateful for his riches, Lazarus the beggar was afforded the opportunity to live because he never reproached God for dealing him a life of poverty. Standing on the very grounds where Jesus performed one of his most splendid miracles will surely stir the hearts and deepen the beliefs of Christian visitors.
Mount of Olives - Where Jesus Wept
Still on the slope of the Mount of Olives is the Chapel of Dominus Flevit, built in 1955 to commemorate the place where, according to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus wept over the fate of Jerusalem.
The chapel is appropriately shaped like a teardrop, reiterating the tears shed by Christ. While the Chapel of Dominus Flevit is run by the Franciscan order, it is nonetheless a highly interesting site combining unique architecture with a central event in the life of Christ.