The Most Visited Cemeteries in Israel

July 23rd 2018

Given the long history and religious significance of the Holy Land, it’s not surprising there are many notable cemeteries to be found in the Jewish State. Many of these are located in and around the ancient city of Jerusalem, and are some of the most visited cemeteries in Israel.

For tourists and Israelis alike, visiting these cemeteries provides a poignant, meaningful, and fascinating insight into religious traditions and the history of the land and its people. It’s worthwhile scheduling in a visit to a cemetery when you visit.

Some of the most interesting cemeteries to visit when touring the country include the following:

Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery

The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives is probably the most famous cemetery in the world. It’s also the oldest and most important cemetery in Jerusalem, dating back to the First Temple period some 3000 years ago.

The cemetery lies on the site where, in Jewish tradition, the Resurrection of the Dead will begin. As such, it became a burial place for many renowned figures in history including notable rabbis and religious scholars.

Mount Herzl National Cemetery

A poignant destination for many visitors to Israel is the Mount Herzl National Cemetery in western Jerusalem. The cemetery is named after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism, whose tomb is located at the top of the hill.

Among those interred at Mount Herzl are many of Israel’s previous leaders (including Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin) as well as hundreds of Israeli soldiers who fell in battle. On the site, there’s also a museum that details the life of Herzl and the story of the modern state of Israel.

Nearby is the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

Mount Zion Cemetery

The Mount Zion Cemetery in Jerusalem is the main Christian burial ground of the city. The site is the last resting place of many Christian religious figures including bishops and scholars, as well as foreign political officials who died in Israel.

However, for Jewish visitors to Jerusalem, the cemetery is best known as the site of Oskar Schindler’s grave. The German industrialist was famous for saving more than a thousand Jews during the Holocaust, and today people from around the world come to pay their respects by placing a stone on his grave.

Har HaMenuchot

The Har HaMenuchot cemetery is the largest cemetery in Jerusalem. It was created in the mid-20th century as an alternative burial place to the Mount of Olives cemetery. Today there are more than 150,000 graves covering over half a square kilometer.

The hilltop burial ground, on the western edge of the Holy City, contains the graves of thousands of Jerusalemites as well as notable rabbis, religious scholars, artists, writers, and also victims of terrorist attacks, wars, and the Holocaust.

Ramleh Commonwealth War Cemetery

For many visitors to Israel from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, the Ramleh Commonwealth War Cemetery is a fascinating and poignant glimpse into the terrible cost of war. The cemetery contains more than 5000 graves of Commonwealth soldiers who lost their lives in both World Wars and the period of Mandatory Palestine.

The graves are immaculately kept. The neat rows of headstones surrounded by green grass provide an eye-catching sight especially in the gleaming sunshine over central Israel.