The Mount of Olives and its Historical Sites

8-Mar-2023 • Jerusalem Israel

On one of the days my partner and I were in Jerusalem, we made our way to the famous Mount of Olives.  From the city center where our Abraham Hostel was, we made our way to the bus station close to the Damascus Gate.  From there we took a bus whose number I can no longer recall and we got off at the very last stop.  The entire ride took approximately half an hour. 

I heard of the Mount of Olives many times before our trip but I had no idea what there was to see.  I did not exactly do any research whatsoever prior to leaving the US.  As it turns out, it is a vast place with big attractions.  First off, the view of the old city from there is spectacular.  It was there too where we saw the Garden of Gethsemane, the Basilica of the Agony also known as the Church of All Nations and the Tomb of Mary.

We spent all of the morning at the Mount of Olives.  Then we slowly we made our way back to the old walled city on foot.

How's this for a view of the old walled city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives?  Spectacular, isn't it?  I couldn't get over how beautiful a sight this was.

Here's another view of the old city from the Mount of Olives.  This picture also shows the Jewish cemetery in the foreground.  It was off limits to visitors though as the sign stated by its entrance.

As a Catholic raised in Manila, I often watched movies about Jesus during Holy Week.  In fact, it not was not just me.  All Filipinos had no choice in terms of entertainment from Maunday Thursday to Black Saturday.  All there was on air on TV in my day were religious movies. It was from watching these movies that I first heard of the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the crowds, and ultimately led to his crucifixion and death.

The Garden of Gethsemane. There was a sign that stated that some of the trees here were present during Jesus's time.  Imagine that!

The Garden of Gethsemane from another vantage point

Oops! I uploaded a picture with a lopsided view of the main altar inside the Basilica of Gethsemane also known as the Basilica of the Agony and the Church of All Nations. 

The Tomb of Mary.  Don't let this very plain facade fool you.  The interior is actually a cave and it looks amazing inside!

This is how the nave of the basilica or the church looked.

When we arrived at the basilica, there was a huge tour group from Africa.  I think they were from Nigeria.  Many were emotional and everyone was praying.  Many were filming their visit.  Needless to say, it was quite difficult to take pictures then.  A few minutes later, their tour group guide told them all they had to go and the basilica suddenly became quiet and empty. I took this picture when we were left all alone much to my delight.  

This is the passage way one sees and one goes through upon entering the Tomb of Mary

I was quite surprised there were no other visitors here when we arrived.  It is said that it was here where Mary was brought when she died.  But, it is also said that she ascended into heaven body and soul.  The tomb was found empty on the third day of her death and resurrection.

Another altar inside the tomb

One of the several altars inside the Tomb of Mary

and another one

A shameless pic at the Mount of Olives.  At the time this picture was taken I was jetlagged to the max.  During our first week in Israel, there were days when I toured around with just 4 hours of sleep.  There was even a day when I woke up at midnight one night and was not able to go back to sleep. If I am not mistaken, I was sleepless here but ecstatic  just the same.