Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine foresees it as its seat of power. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times and recaptured 44 times, attacked 52 times; the part of Jerusalem called the City of David shows first signs of settlement in the 4th millennium BCE, in the shape of encampments of nomadic shepherds. Jerusalem was named as "Urusalim" on ancient Egyptian tablets meaning "City of Shalem" after a Canaanite deity, during the Canaanite period. During the Israelite period, significant construction activity in Jerusalem began in the 9th century BCE, in the 8th century the city developed into the religious and administrative center of the Kingdom of Judah.
In 1538, the city walls were rebuilt for a last time around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian and Muslim Quarters; the Old City became a World Heritage Site in 1981, is on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Since 1860 Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City's boundaries. In 2015, Jerusalem had a population of some 850,000 residents, comprising 200,000 secular Jewish Israelis, 350,000 Haredi Jews and 300,000 Palestinians. In 2011, the population numbered 801,000, of which Jews comprised 497,000, Muslims 281,000, Christians 14,000 and 9,000 were not classified by religion. According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. Modern scholars argue that Jews branched out of the Canaanite peoples and culture through the development of a distinct monolatrous — and monotheistic — religion centered on El/Yahweh, one of the Ancient Canaanite deities.
These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st millennium BCE, assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish people. The sobriquet of holy city was attached to Jerusalem in post-exilic times; the holiness of Jerusalem in Christianity, conserved in the Septuagint which Christians adopted as their own authority, was reinforced by the New Testament account of Jesus's crucifixion there. In Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Medina. In Islamic tradition, in 610 CE it became the first qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer, Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years ascending to heaven where he speaks to God, according to the Quran; as a result, despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres, the Old City is home to many sites of seminal religious importance, among them the Temple Mount with its Western Wall, Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Outside the Old City stands the Garden Tomb. Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, West Jerusalem was among the areas captured and annexed by Israel while East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was captured and annexed by Jordan. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed it into Jerusalem, together with additional surrounding territory. One of Israel's Basic Laws, the 1980 Jerusalem Law, refers to Jerusalem as the country's undivided capital. All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset, the residences of the Prime Minister and President, the Supreme Court. While the international community rejected the annexation as illegal and treats East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, Israel has a stronger claim to sovereignty over West Jerusalem. A city called Rušalim in the execration texts of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt is but not universally, identified as Jerusalem. Jerusalem is called Urušalim in the Amarna letters of Abdi-Heba.
The name "Jerusalem" is variously etymologized to mean "foundation of the god Shalem". Shalim or Shalem was the name of the god of dusk in the Canaanite religion, whose name is based on the same root S-L-M from which the Hebrew word for "peace" is derived; the name thus offered itself to etymologizations such as "The City of Peace", "Abode of Peace", "dwelling of peace", alternately "Vision of Peace" in some Christian authors. The ending -ayim indicates the dual, thus leading to the suggestion that the name Yerushalayim refers to the fact that the city sat on two hills; the form Yerushalem or Yerushalayim first appears in the Book of Joshua. According to a Midrash, the name is a combination of "Yireh" and "Shalem" the two names were un
Titus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father. Before becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a military commander, serving under his father in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War; the campaign came to a brief halt with the death of emperor Nero in 68, launching Vespasian's bid for the imperial power during the Year of the Four Emperors. When Vespasian was declared Emperor on 1 July 69, Titus was left in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, destroyed the city and the Second Temple. For this achievement Titus was awarded a triumph. During his father's rule, Titus gained notoriety in Rome serving as prefect of the Praetorian Guard, for carrying on a controversial relationship with the Jewish queen Berenice. Despite concerns over his character, Titus ruled to great acclaim following the death of Vespasian in 79, was considered a good emperor by Suetonius and other contemporary historians.
As emperor, he is best known for completing the Colosseum and for his generosity in relieving the suffering caused by two disasters, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and a fire in Rome in 80. After two years in office, Titus died of a fever on 13 September 81, he was succeeded by his younger brother Domitian. Titus was born in Rome on 30 December 39 AD, as the eldest son of Titus Flavius Vespasianus—commonly known as Vespasian—and Domitilla the Elder, he had one younger sister, Domitilla the Younger, one younger brother, Titus Flavius Domitianus referred to as Domitian. Decades of civil war during the 1st century BC had contributed to the demise of the old aristocracy of Rome, replaced in prominence by a new provincial nobility during the early part of the 1st century. One such family was the gens Flavia, which rose from relative obscurity to prominence in just four generations, acquiring wealth and status under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Titus's great-grandfather, Titus Flavius Petro, had served as a centurion under Pompey during Caesar's Civil War.
His military career ended in disgrace when he fled the battlefield at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC. Petro managed to improve his status by marrying the wealthy Tertulla, whose fortune guaranteed the upwards mobility of Petro's son Titus Flavius Sabinus I, Titus's grandfather. Sabinus himself amassed further wealth and possible equestrian status through his services as tax collector in Asia and banker in Helvetia. By marrying Vespasia Polla he allied himself to the more prestigious patrician gens Vespasia, ensuring the elevation of his sons Titus Flavius Sabinus II and Vespasian to the senatorial rank; the political career of Vespasian included the offices of quaestor and praetor, culminated with a consulship in 51, the year Domitian was born. As a military commander, he gained early renown by participating in the Roman invasion of Britain in 43. What little is known of Titus's early life has been handed down to us by Suetonius, who records that he was brought up at the imperial court in the company of Britannicus, the son of emperor Claudius, who would be murdered by Nero in 55.
The story was told that Titus was reclining next to Britannicus, the night he was murdered, sipped of the poison, handed to him. Further details on his education are scarce, but it seems he showed early promise in the military arts and was a skilled poet and orator both in Greek and Latin. From c. 57 to 59 he was a military tribune in Germania. He served in Britannia arriving c. 60 with reinforcements needed after the revolt of Boudica. In c. 63 he returned to Rome and married Arrecina Tertulla, daughter of Marcus Arrecinus Clemens, a former Prefect of the Praetorian Guard. She died c. 65. Titus took a new wife of a much more distinguished family, Marcia Furnilla. However, Marcia's family was linked to the opposition to Nero, her uncle Barea Soranus and his daughter Servilia were among those who perished after the failed Pisonian conspiracy of 65. Some modern historians theorize that Titus divorced his wife because of her family's connection to the conspiracy. Titus never remarried, he appears to have had at least one of them by Marcia Furnilla.
The only one known to have survived to adulthood was Julia Flavia Titus's child by Arrecina, whose mother was named Julia. During this period Titus practiced law and attained the rank of quaestor. In 66 the Jews of the Judaea Province revolted against the Roman Empire. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, was defeated at the battle of Beth-Horon and forced to retreat from Jerusalem; the pro-Roman king Agrippa II and his sister Berenice fled the city to Galilee where they gave themselves up to the Romans. Nero appointed Vespasian to put down the rebellion, dispatched to the region at once with the Fifth Legion and Tenth Legion, he was joined at Ptolemais by Titus with the Fifteenth Legion. With a strength of 60,000 professional soldiers, the Romans prepared to sweep across Galilee and march on Jerusalem; the history of the war was covered in detail by the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus in his work The War of the Jews. Josephus served as a commander in the city of Yodfat when the Roman army invaded Galilee in 67.
After an exhausting siege which lasted 47 days, the city fell, with an estimated 40,000 killed. Titus, was not set on ending the war. Surviving one of several group suicides, Jose
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding
Siege of Jerusalem (70 CE)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE was the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War, in which the Roman army captured the city of Jerusalem and destroyed both the city and its Temple. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command and conquered the city of Jerusalem, controlled by Judean rebel factions since 66 CE, following the Jerusalem riots of 66, when the Judean provisional government was formed in Jerusalem; the siege of the city began on 14 April 70 CE, three days before the beginning of Passover that year. The siege lasted for over four months, with the battle for the city lasting for close to another week after that; the siege ended on 30 August 70 CE, with the burning and destruction of the Second Temple, the Romans entered and sacked the Lower City. The destruction of both the First and Second Temples is still mourned annually during the Jewish fast on Tisha B'Av; the Arch of Titus, celebrating the Roman sack of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome.
The conquest of the city was complete on 8 September 70 CE. Despite early successes in repelling the Roman sieges, the Zealots fought amongst themselves, they lacked proper leadership, resulting in poor discipline and preparation for the battles that were to follow. At one point they destroyed the food stocks in the city, a drastic measure thought to have been undertaken in order to enlist a merciful God's intervention on behalf of the besieged Jews, or as a stratagem to make the defenders more desperate, supposing, necessary in order to repel the Roman army. Titus began his siege a few days before Passover, on 14 April, surrounding the city with three legions on the western side and a fourth on the Mount of Olives, to the east. If the reference in his Jewish War at 6:421 is to Titus' siege, though difficulties exist with its interpretation at the time, according to Josephus, Jerusalem was thronged with many people who had come to celebrate Passover; the thrust of the siege began in the west at the Third Wall, north of the Jaffa Gate.
By May, this was breached and the Second Wall was taken shortly afterwards, leaving the defenders in possession of the Temple and the upper and lower city. The Jewish defenders were split into factions: John of Gischala's group murdered another faction leader, Eleazar ben Simon, whose men were entrenched in the forecourts of the Temple; the enmities between John of Gischala and Simon bar Giora were papered over only when the Roman siege engineers began to erect ramparts. Titus had a wall built to girdle the city in order to starve out the population more effectively. After several failed attempts to breach or scale the walls of the Fortress of Antonia, the Romans launched a secret attack, overwhelming the sleeping Zealots and taking the fortress by late July. After Jewish allies killed a number of Roman soldiers, Titus sent Josephus, the Jewish historian, to negotiate with the defenders. Titus was captured during this sudden attack, but escaped. Overlooking the Temple compound, the fortress provided a perfect point from which to attack the Temple itself.
Battering rams made little progress, but the fighting itself set the walls on fire. Destroying the Temple was not among Titus' goals due in large part to the massive expansions done by Herod the Great mere decades earlier. Titus had wanted to seize it and transform it into a temple dedicated to the Roman Emperor and the Roman pantheon. However, the fire spread and was soon out of control; the Temple was captured and destroyed on 9/10 Tisha B'Av, at the end of August, the flames spread into the residential sections of the city. Josephus described the scene: As the legions charged in, neither persuasion nor threat could check their impetuosity: passion alone was in command. Crowded together around the entrances many were trampled by their friends, many fell among the still hot and smoking ruins of the colonnades and died as miserably as the defeated; as they neared the Sanctuary they pretended not to hear Caesar's commands and urged the men in front to throw in more firebrands. The partisans were no longer in a position to help.
Most of the victims were peaceful citizens and unarmed, butchered wherever they were caught. Round the Altar the heaps of corpses grew higher and higher, while down the Sanctuary steps poured a river of blood and the bodies of those killed at the top slithered to the bottom. Josephus's account absolves Titus of any culpability for the destruction of the Temple, but this may reflect his desire to procure favor with the Flavian dynasty; the Roman legions crushed the remaining Jewish resistance. Some of the remaining Jews escaped through hidden underground tunnels and sewers, while others made a final stand in the Upper City; this defense halted the Roman advance as they had to construct siege towers to assail the remaining Jews. Herod's Palace fell on 7 September, the city was under Roman control by 8 September; the Romans continued to pursue those. The account of Josephus described Titus as moderate in his approach and, after conferring with others, ordering that the 500-year-old Temple be spared.
According to Josephus, it was the Jews who first used fire in the Northwest approach to the Temple to try and stop Roman advances. Only did Roman soldiers set fire to an apartment adjacent to the Temple, a conflagration which the Jews subsequently made worse. Josephus had acted as a mediator for the Romans a
The Second Temple was the Jewish holy temple which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE, when Jerusalem was conquered and part of the population of the Kingdom of Judah was taken into exile to Babylon; the Second Temple was a rather modest structure constructed by a number of Jewish exile groups returning to the Levant from Babylon under the Achaemenid-appointed governor Zerubbabel. However, during the reign of Herod the Great, the Second Temple was refurbished, the original structure was overhauled into the large and magnificent edifices and facades that are more recognizable. Much as the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE as retaliation for an ongoing Jewish revolt; the second temple lasted for a total of 585 years. Jewish eschatology includes a belief that the Second Temple will be replaced by a future Third Temple.
The accession of Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire in 559 BCE made the re-establishment of the city of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple possible. Some rudimentary ritual sacrifice had continued at the site of the first temple following its destruction. According to the closing verses of the second book of Chronicles and the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, when the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem following a decree from Cyrus the Great, construction started at the original site of the altar of Solomon's Temple. After a brief halt due to opposition from peoples who had filled the vacuum during the Jewish captivity, work resumed c. 521 BCE under Darius I and was completed during the sixth year of his reign, with the temple dedication taking place the following year. These events represent the final section in the historical narrative of the Hebrew Bible; the original core of the book of Nehemiah, the first-person memoir, may have been combined with the core of the Book of Ezra around 400 BCE.
Further editing continued into the Hellenistic era. The book tells how Nehemiah, at the court of the king in Susa, is informed that Jerusalem is without walls and resolves to restore them; the king appoints him as governor of the province Yehud Medinata and he travels to Jerusalem. There he rebuilds the walls, despite the opposition of Israel's enemies, reforms the community in conformity with the law of Moses. After 12 years in Jerusalem, he subsequently revisits Jerusalem, he finds that the Israelites have been backsliding and taking non-Jewish wives, he stays in Jerusalem to enforce the Law. Based on the biblical account, after the return from Babylonian captivity, arrangements were made to reorganize the desolated Yehud Province after the demise of the Kingdom of Judah seventy years earlier; the body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360, having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their proceedings by a strong religious impulse, therefore one of their first concerns was to restore their ancient house of worship by rebuilding their destroyed Temple and reinstituting the sacrificial rituals known as the korbanot.
On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by contributing 1,000 golden darics, besides other gifts, the people poured their gifts into the sacred treasury with great enthusiasm. First they erected and dedicated the altar of God on the exact spot where it had stood, they cleared away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old temple. A wide interest was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with mixed feelings by the spectators; the Samaritans wanted to help with this work but Zerubbabel and the elders declined such cooperation, feeling that the Jews must build the Temple unaided. Evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. According to Ezra 4:5, the Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" and sent messengers to Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the work was suspended. Seven years Cyrus the Great, who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple and was succeeded by his son Cambyses.
On his death, the "false Smerdis", an impostor, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months, Darius became king. In the second year of his rule the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and carried forward to its completion, under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, it was ready for consecration in the spring of 516 BCE, more than twenty years after the return from captivity. The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius, amid great rejoicings on the part of all the people, although it was evident that the Jews were no longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign power; the Book of Haggai includes a prediction that the glory of the second temple would be greater than that of the first. Some of the original artifacts from the Temple of Solomon are not mentioned in the sources after its destruction in 597 BCE, are presumed lost; the Second Temple lacked the following holy articles: The Ark of the Covenant containing the Tablets of Stone, before which were
Matthew 11 is the eleventh chapter in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible. It continues the narrative about Jesus' ministry in Galilee. Written in Koine Greek and Hebrew/Aramaic Some ancient manuscripts containing this chapter are: Papyrus 70 Codex Vaticanus Codex Sinaiticus Papyrus 62 Papyrus 19 Codex Bezae Codex Washingtonianus Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus Codex Purpureus Rossanensis Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus Codex Sinopensis This chapter is divided into 30 verses; this chapter can be grouped: Matthew 11:1 = Ministry of Jesus Matthew 11:2-19 = Messengers from John the Baptist Matthew 11:20–24 = Cursing Chorazin and Capernaum Matthew 11:25–30 = Praising the Father The New King James Version organises this chapter as follows: Matthew 11:1–19 = John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus Matthew 11:20–24 = Woe to the Impenitent Cities Matthew 11:25–30 = Jesus gives True Rest Verses 2 to 6 relate to John the Baptist's enquiry about Jesus, relayed by his messengers: Are you the one, to come, or should we expect someone else?
Some translations use descriptive words to refer to the expected Messiah: "the one, to come", or "the one we are waiting for", whereas other translations render the Greek: ο ερχομενος, ho erchomenos, as a title: "the Expected One", "the Coming One". At that time, Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes German Protestant theologian Karl Theodor Keim called this text a "pearl of the sayings of Jesus". Pope Francis has noted with support that Pope Benedict XVI "often pointed out that the theologian must remain attentive to the faith lived by the humble and the small, to whom it pleased the Father to reveal that which He had hidden from the learned and the wise”. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, I will give you rest."Come": in Matthew 4:19. There is less thought of the process of coming than in the similar invitation in John 7:37. Take my yoke upon you, learn of me.
For my yoke is easy, my burden is light. John the Baptist Related Bible parts: Matthew 10, Mark 13, Luke 7, Luke 10, Luke 12, Luke 21
Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives or Mount Olivet is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City. It is named for the olive groves; the southern part of the Mount was the Silwan necropolis, attributed to the ancient Judean kingdom. The mount has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds 150,000 graves, making it central in the tradition of Jewish cemeteries. Several key events in the life of Jesus, as related in the Gospels, took place on the Mount of Olives, in the Acts of the Apostles it is described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven; because of its association with both Jesus and Mary, the mount has been a site of Christian worship since ancient times and is today a major site of pilgrimage for Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Protestants. Much of the top of the hill is occupied by At-Tur, a former village and now a neighbourhood of East Jerusalem with a majority-Muslim population; the Mount of Olives is one of three peaks of a mountain ridge which runs for 3.5 kilometres just east of the Old City across the Kidron Valley, in this area called the Valley of Josaphat.
The peak to its north is Mount Scopus, at 826 metres, while the peak to its south is the Mount of Corruption, at 747 m. The highest point on the Mount of Olives is At-Tur, at 818 m; the ridge acts as a watershed, its eastern side is the beginning of the Judean Desert. The ridge is formed of oceanic sedimentary rock from the Late Cretaceous and contains a soft chalk and a hard flint. While the chalk is quarried, it is not a suitable strength for construction and features many man-made burial caves From Biblical times until the present, Jews have been buried on the Mount of Olives; the necropolis on the southern ridge, the location of the modern village of Silwan, was the burial place of Jerusalem's most important citizens in the period of the Biblical kings. The religious ceremony marking the start of a new month was held on the Mount of Olives in the days of the Second Temple. Roman soldiers from the 10th Legion camped on the mount during the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD. After the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews celebrated the festival of Sukkot on the Mount of Olives.
They made pilgrimages to the Mount of Olives because it was 80 meters higher than the Temple Mount and offered a panoramic view of the Temple site. It became a traditional place for lamenting the Temple's destruction on Tisha B'Av. In 1481, an Italian Jewish pilgrim, Rabbi Meshullam da Volterra, wrote: "And all the community of Jews, every year, goes up to Mount Zion on the day of Tisha B'Av to fast and mourn, from there they move down along Yoshafat Valley and up to Mount of Olives. From there they see the whole Temple and there they weep and lament the destruction of this House." In the mid-1850s, the villagers of Silwan were paid £100 annually by the Jews in an effort to prevent the desecration of graves on the mount. Prime Minister of Israel Menachem Begin asked to be buried on the Mount of Olives near the grave of Etzel member Meir Feinstein, rather than Mount Herzl national cemetery; the armistice agreement signed by Israel and Jordan following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War called for the establishment of a Special Committee to negotiate developments including "free access to the holy sites and cultural institutions and use of the cemetery on the Mount of Olives".
However, during the 19 years the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank lasted, the committee was not formed. Non-Israeli Christian pilgrims were allowed to visit the mount, but Jews of all countries and most non-Jewish Israeli citizens were barred from entering Jordan and therefore were unable to travel to the area. By the end of 1949, throughout the Jordanian rule of the site, some Arab residents uprooted tombstones and plowed the land in the cemeteries, an estimated 38,000 tombstones were damaged in total. During this period, four roads were paved through the cemeteries, in the process destroying graves including those of famous persons. Jordan's King Hussein permitted the construction of the Intercontinental Hotel at the summit of the Mount of Olives together with a road that cut through the cemetery which destroyed hundreds of Jewish graves, some from the First Temple Period. Graves were demolished for parking lots and a filling station and were used in latrines at a Jordanian Army barracks.
The United Nations did not condemn the Jordanian government for these actions. Following the 1967 Six-Day War and the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, its government began restoration work and re-opened the cemetery for burials. Israel's 1980 unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem was condemned as a violation of international law and ruled null and void by the UN Security Council in UNSC Resolution 478; as of 2010, the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives has been targeted by Arab vandals. Mourners have been assaulted. Notable graves that have been defaced by vandals include those of the Gerrer Rebbe and Menachem Begin. On 6 November 2010, an international watch-committee was set up by Diaspora Jews with the aim of reversing the desecration of the Jewish cemetery. According to one of the founders, the initiative was triggered by witnessing tombstones that were wrecked with "the kind of maliciousness that defies the imagination." The Mount of Olives is first mentioned in connection with David's flight from Absalom: "And David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, wept as he went up."
The ascent was east of the City of David, near the village of Silwan. The sacred character of the mount is alluded to in the Book of Ezekiel: "And the glory of the