Welcome to the Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives Ridge served in ancient times as the eastern border of Ancient Jerusalem, as it creates a clear buffer separating the city from the Judean desert. The elongated mountain ridge, which extends from Mount Scopus in the north to the slopes of the Kidron Valley in the south, to the foot of the peak known as the “Mount of Unction”. Due to its relative height, the Mount of Olives allows a breathtaking view of the city to the west, and the desert to the east.
During the First and Second Temple periods, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were the focus of Jewish life. This greatly influenced the status of the Mount of Olives in history and Jewish heritage. The mountain was attributed special religious significance and became an integral part of religious services due its proximity to the Temple Mount and especially because of the view that it offered of the surrounding area.

Biblical sources tie the Mount of Olives with future miraculous occurrences that will take place during the Redemption. As a result, the Mount of Olives became an important site in Jewish tradition and various customs developed. The mountain was sanctified and it became a place of Jewish pilgrimage. The mountain’s sanctity, its proximity to the city and its soft chalky consistency which made it easy to dig into, contributed to the mountain becoming a place of burial throughout the generations. The tradition of burial began during the First Temple period, and continues to this very day.

Today, visitors flock to the Mount of Olives for its breathtaking views and to learn about its history in special guided tours. Its rocks whisper stories from centuries past, engaging visitors with its secrets and glorious history.

The Status on the Mount of Olives

Currently there are 122,000 known graves, with burial plots still available. Although no funerals take place here as in other cemeteries, at least one person is buried on the Mount of Olives every week.
The Mount of Olives Information Center organized groups of volunteers to map and restore graves. Volunteers went grave by grave, recording the text and entering it into a computer system in order to create an advanced mapping system. They removed dirt from graves, went over faded letters with a paintbrush and filled in missing letters on tombstones. The work continues. New tombstones are being put up, based on records pointing to their location. The Information Center also helps locate graves of loved ones.
One can reach the Mount of Olives by public transportation, in private vehicles, and on foot.
In the last few years, the Information Center has invested great time and effort in mapping the burial plots on Google maps and Waze. The graves of Rabbis and public figures have also been mapped.
To make the area easier to navigate, the Information Center has put up signs in front of the entrance to plots, in addition to entering the names of the plots into Waze.
There is a 24 hour security hotline operated by the Ministry of Housing. Arrangements for a free escort are offered, and must be made a day in advance.
Surveillance cameras on the Mount of Olives are reviewed at certain intervals to make sure that all is quiet.
One may also employ the services of a private security guard.
Cemetery Occupancy 83%
Mapping the Cemetery 77%
Accessibility 85
Security 94%

About the Mount of Olives

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