We already visited The Old City. In that post, we were in “The Big Three,” which are The Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. We also toured at additional places inside the Old City. Today we will be visiting different places Around The Old City.
To The South Of The Old City – Mount Zion
Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City. The term Mount Zion has been used in the Hebrew Bible first for the City of David (2 Samuel 5:7, 1 Chronicles 11:5; 1 Kings 8:1, 2 Chronicles 5:2) and later for the Temple Mount, but its meaning has shifted, and it is now used as the name of ancient Jerusalem’s Western Hill. In a wider sense, the term is also used for the entire Land of Israel.
Map of the area:
In the post about The Old City, I mentioned my three ways reaching the old city. Today I want to show a nice place on the way from HaPa’amon Garden (one of the only free parking places not far from Old City). Close to Mendes-France square (about 300m from parking) you can find this fountain with lions:
Lions weren’t selected randomly. Lion is the symbol of Jerusalem and it appears on the emblem. The lion represents the “lion of Judah”, the symbol of the Tribe of Judah and later on the Kingdom of Judah, whose capital was Jerusalem.
As you progress towards the Old City (about 400m from the fountain) you will see this panorama:
Mount Zion is closer to you and the Old City walls are further away.
The Last Supper Room
Visiting hours: Sat-Thu 8am-5pm, Fri 8am-1pm, and the admission is free.
The Cenacle, also known as the “Upper Room,” is a room in the David’s Tomb Compound in Jerusalem, traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper.
The word is a derivative of the Latin word cēnō, which means “I dine.” The Gospel of Mark employs the Ancient Greek: ἀνάγαιον, anagaion, (Mark 14:15), whereas the Acts of the Apostles uses Ancient Greek: ὑπερῷον, hyperōion (Acts 1:13), both with the meaning “upper room.” The language in Acts suggests that the apostles used the Upper Room as a temporary residence (Ancient Greek: οὗ ἦσαν καταμένοντες, hou ēsan katamenontes), although the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary disagrees, preferring to see the room as a place where they were “not lodged, but had for their place of rendezvous”.
I was quite lucky to get The Last Supper Room all to myself. In two minutes another group came in, and you could barely find any place to stand.
Cenacle is also called the Upper Room since it’s on the second floor. On the first floor, just below this room, you can find King David’s Tomb.
Former President’s Room
I visited King David’s Tomb, but keep in mind that photography is not allowed there. Usually, from The Last Supper Room, I take the stairs to the roof. On the third floor, the roof, you can see a small building, and on the door, there is a sign telling: “The President’s Room.” It was the actual President room until 1967. From the outside, it looks like a small room, and it is always closed.
Till Six Day War, the Old City was under Jordanian control. And the Cenacle’s roof was the closest point to the Western Wall.
Another reminder of the war can be found at Zion Gate. Before entering the gate, take a look at the Old City wall. You will see many bullet holes.
This marvelous church is a landmark of the city of Jerusalem, and is the site where the Virgin Mary is said to have died, or fell into ‘eternal sleep’. Its Latin name is “Dormition Sanctae Mariae” (Sleep of St. Mary).
The current church and Monastery, owned by the German Benedictine Order, was consecrated in 1906. It was noticeably damaged during the battles for the city in 1948 and 1967. In the crypt of the church lies a recumbent statue of the Virgin in death, and the rotunda above is noticeable for its glorious mosaic zodiac, a most unusual addition to a Christian church.
Dormition Abbey – Exterior
Inside Dormition Abbey
Dormition abbey has quite unique architecture. It’s a circular building with several niches (containing altars and a choir).
To The East Of The Old City – Mount Of Olives
Map of the area:
The Church of All Nations
Let’s burn some extra calories and head to The Church of All Nations.
The Church of All Nations, also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony, is a Roman Catholic church located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. It enshrines a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest.
Church of All Nations is located next to the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane is “Gat Shmanim” in Hebrew, which means “oil press”. In this urban garden, Jesus slept the night before the crucifixion. These olive trees are big, you can easily believe they are 2,000 years old.
Tomb of the Virgin
Tomb of the Virgin is located not far from the Garden of Gethsemane.
Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary, also Tomb of the Virgin Mary, is a Christian tomb in the Kidron Valley – at the foot of Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem – believed by Eastern Christians to be the burial place of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Status Quo, a 250-year old understanding between religious communities, applies to the site.
Dominus Flevit Church
A little higher on Mount of Olives, you can find the Dominus Flevit Church.
Dominus Flevit is a Roman Catholic church on the Mount of Olives, opposite the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. The church was designed and constructed between 1953 and 1955 by the Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi and is held in trust by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. During construction of the sanctuary, archaeologists uncovered artifacts dating back to the Canaanite period, as well as tombs from the Second Temple and Byzantine eras.
Dominus Flevit, which translates from Latin as “The Lord Wept,” was fashioned in the shape of a teardrop to symbolize the tears of Christ. Here, according to the 19th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus, while riding toward the city of Jerusalem, becomes overwhelmed by the beauty of the Second Temple and predicting its future destruction, and the diaspora of the Jewish people weeps openly.
Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery
The ancient and most important cemetery in Jerusalem is on the Mount of Olives. The Mount was used as the burial ground of the Jews of Jerusalem from as far back as the days of the First Temple and continues to fulfill this function to the present day. During the First and Second Temple Periods the Jews of Jerusalem were buried in burial caves scattered on the slopes of the Mount, and from the 16th century, the cemetery began to take its present shape.
Source: Official Site
To The West Of The Old City – Mishkenot Sha’ananim
Map of the area:
Another interesting place close to the Old City is Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood.
Mishkenot Sha’ananim is the first Jewish neighborhood built outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, on a hill directly across from Mount Zion. Built in 1860, it was the first area of Jewish settlement in Jerusalem outside the Old City walls and was one of the first structures to be built outside the Old City of Jerusalem…
The Montefiore Windmill is a landmark windmill in Jerusalem, Israel. Designed as a flour mill, it was built in 1857 on a slope opposite the western city walls of Jerusalem, where three years later the new Jewish neighborhood of Mishkenot Sha’ananim was erected, both by the efforts of a British Jewish banker and philanthropist Moses Montefiore. Jerusalem at the time was part of Ottoman-ruled Palestine. Today the windmill serves as a small museum dedicated to the achievements of Montefiore. It was restored in 2012 with a new cap and sails in the style of the originals. The mill can turn in the wind.
There are many interesting places around The Old City. We have visited some of them, but there are more. If you have the time, then I would recommend it. Visiting places like the Cenacle, makes you feel like walking in history.
What are your favorite places around The Old City? Let us know in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
For additional points of interest nearby check out Jerusalem page.