Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is a sacred place for Jews and Christians mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, first as King David’s escape route during the rebellion of his son Absalom (2 Sam 15:24-37), later in the prophets, however it is mentioned with great significance in the New Testament, where Jesus’ prayed and taught his Disciples, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, where Jesus says "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." (Matthew 26:36-39), and where Jesus is taken up into Heaven (Acts 1).
Garden of Gethsemane
Many Scripture events took place during the Passion Week. The Garden of Gethsemane site played a prominent role and is the place Jesus prays (Luke 22:39-46, Mark 14:32, Matthew 26:36) with his disciples, and where he spent his last hours before he was arrested (John 18, Luke 22:47-23:56). Today Holy Land pilgrims find olive trees dating back to the time of Christ that are more than 2,000 years old.
There are several stunning churches to see in the Mount of Olives including The Paternoster Church, named after prayer Jesus taught, "Pray then like this: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name..’" (Matthew 6:9-13), the Church of Dominus Flevit meaning “Our Lord weeping”: “And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it…” (Luke 19:41), and the Church of All Nations, also known as the Church of Agony, housing stunning mosaics depicting the Agony of Jesus, and according to tradition, the Rock of Agony lies within the church.
The Grotto of Agony is nearby The Tomb of the Virgin Mary and The Russian Orthodox Church of St. Mary Magdalena, and near the top of the Mount of Olives is the shrine Chapel of the Ascension, which commemorates His Ascension: “And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem outside the walls of the Old City, and was the site for many important Gospel events; the Last Supper in the Upper Room or the “Coenaculum,” (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-39 and John 13:1-17:26), the Institution of the Eucharist, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”” (Matthew 26:26), and “Likewise also He took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:20). The Pentecost (Acts 2:1-31) is also another Gospel event taking place on Mount Zion.
There are a few beautiful churches to be visited on Mount Zion including the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu constructed on top of the house of Caiaphas the high priest; “Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered” (Matthew 26:57), the church commemorates St. Peter’s denial of Jesus after his arrest, “But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.” (Luke 22:57). Another church is Dormition Abbey, commemorating the site where Saint Mary fell in to “eternal sleep.”
The Pool of Bethesda is situated in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, on the path of the Beth Zeta Valley. This is where Jesus healed an infirm on the Sabbath: “Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. Now that day was the sabbath” (John 5: 8-9).
The highlight of any Holy Land Christian Tour is the honoring of the Passion of Christ and walking along the Via Dolorosa, “ the way of Sorrows,” which is the commemorated rout Jesus walked with His cross to the Calvary, “So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.” (John 19:17-18). The Last 5 stations of fourteen stations of the cross are found in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection and the holiest Christian site in the world.
Ein Karem, a neighbourhood in southwest Jerusalem, is home to the Church of the Visitation, remembering St. Mary's visit to St. Elizabeth (Luke 1:39–56), and the Church of St. John the Baptist, commemorating St. John's birth (Luke 1:39-40). An amazing archaeological discovery is also near to Ein Karem: the Cave of John the Baptist in Kibbutz Tzuba. Archaeologists say the cave is where they believe John the Baptist anointed many of his disciples.
Other amazing sites and holy places to visit in Jerusalem include The Monastery of the Cross, an impressive fortress-like monastery constructed – according to tradition –
where the tree used to supply the wood for the cross of Jesus stood: “And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:” (Acts 10:39). The Western Wall and the Western Wall Tunnel, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the golden Dome of the Rock, are the distinguished Holy Land sites to be visited on a Holy Land Tour of Jerusalem.
Perhaps one of the most memorable and important places to visit in Jerusalem is Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Holocaust, and arguably one of the very best museums in the world which pays respect to the six million victims of the Holocaust.