Mount of Olives & Church of the Tomb
The Mount of Olives rises some 100m to the east of the Old City across the Kidron Valley. Green, fertile and nowadays dotted with more churches and shrines than olive trees. Its summit affords a magnificent view of the whole of Jerusalem with the sealed Golden Gate of the Old City and in the other direction of the Judean Desert, the Jordan Valley and the mountains of Mo’ab. Mount of Olives is mentioned as a place where prophet Jesus (pbuh) used to walk over the hill from Bethany to Jerusalem. The Tomb of Virgin Mary lies at the bottom of the Mount of Olives at the right of the path. This is considered to be the site where the Virgin Mary was supposedly entombed. The church known also as the Church of the Assumption is supposed to have originated in the Byzantine period (fifth century), and the Crypt cut into the live rock, the most important part from touristic and religious point of view, is supposed to date from that time. It was rebuilt in 1130 by the Crusaders and since then it has been shared by Greeks, Armenians, Syrians, Copts and Muslims. This site is venerated by Muslims since, on his night journey from Medina to Jerusalem, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is said to have spotted a light over Mary’s Tomb.