Religion and History in the Kidron Valley

November 21st 2012

Jerusalem and the surrounding area is rife with religious and historical significance. Here, we can walk in the footsteps of Jesus and other important figures at sites like the Mount of Olives, Pools of Bethesda, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of All Nations and the Tomb of Avshalom.

Situated between the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, the Kidron Valley is a must visit in Israel both for its natural beauty and religious and historical significance. Also referred to as the Valley of Judgment and the Valley of Jehosafat, it is home to stunning views of Jerusalem, as well as tombs of such notable figures as the Virgin Mary.

Another tomb worth visiting in the Kidron Valley is the Tomb of Absalom, named for King David’s son, who died during a failed mutiny against his father. The unusual dome-shaped monument is one of the largest and most famous of the many tombs in the valley.

The adjacent Mount of Olives holds great religious significance for Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. In addition to being a sacred Jewish burial area, it is also mentioned numerous times in the New Testament as a place where Jesus spent time.

The Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, is a gorgeous oasis where Jesus and his disciples are believed by some to have prayed the night before his crucifixion. It has been a place of pilgrimage ever since. The beautiful olive trees on the property are nearly 1,000 years old.

Next door, the famous Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony, is another place where Jesus is believed to have prayed before his crucifixion. Presently a Roman Catholic church, it was built in the 1920s on the remains of a Crusader chapel and Byzantine basilica.

Finally, head into the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City to visit the Pools of Bethesda, an ancient place of healing as described in the Gospel of John. Excavated in the 19th century, it is an incredible piece of archaeological and religious history.

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