Mount Zion is located on the south-west side of the old city, outside of the present walls. In Greek and Roman times this was the southern side of the walled city, the place of the Jesus last supper and the home of the high priest high priest Caiaphas.
Psalms 48:2: "Beautiful for situation, the joy
of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the
city of the great King".
The area of Mount Zion was first populated in the first temple period, but the city of David and Solomon was centered in the "lower city", east and down from Mount Zion. Only During the second temple period this higher hill was incorporated into the newly expanded "upper city".
The walls from that time (2nd C BC) are gone today, but excavations held in 1894 (F.G. Bliss) and 2008 (Y. Zelinger) revealed the foundations of the walls, gates, paved streets, and foundations from the Greek and Roman period.
According to Christian tradition, Mount Zion was the site of the palace of high priest Caiaphas, and the location of the house where Jesus held the last supper. It was also the place where his mother Mary is buried (in the Dormition). Therefore, the area has been a prime site for Christian churches, institutes, and cemeteries.
According to Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, this is also the site of the tomb of King David.
The area of mount Zion was excluded from the Roman city planned by Hadrian (Aelia Capitolina, 2nd C AD) and the Ottoman walled city that followed its plan (built in 1540AD).
The area was purchased by Christians who built cemeteries, churches and a school.
Mount Zion is an area on the south-west side of the old city, and a place of several churches, the traditional David Tomb, and Christian cemeteries.
An aerial map is seen below. You can point on the purple points to navigate to the selected point - in this page and other pages.
The photo below was taken from the south side - from St. Andrews. The walls of the old city are seen on the left background, with the Tower of David and Jaffa gate on the extreme left. On the right side is Mount Zion, with the Dormition abbey on the center.
The photo shows Mount Zion from the west. On the right side are the walls of the old city. In the slopes of Mount Zion is the Gobat school structure, built in the 19th C. Beyond it is the Dormition monastery and church structure, and its bell tower. Behind the bell tower is the traditional site of tomb of King David, and the site of the Last supper.
Click on the photo to view it in higher resolution...
Along the hillsides are Christian cemeteries, such as the west side of the Dormition abbey seen below.
A view of the Dormition church, as seen from the "lower city". As can be seen, the height differences to mount Zion make the walk up the mountain a challenge on a hot day.
The fabulous Saint-Peter-in-Gallicantu Church is built in the eastern slopes of mount Zion. It was built in 1931. According to tradition, this was the place of the palace of high priest Caiaphas. Its name (Gallicantu, means the cock's crow) is given after the story of Peters triple denial of Christ and the cock crowing twice.
At the sides of the church is an ancient staircase - perhaps the passage from the upper city to the lower city during the first temple period.
The valley below the slopes is Gey Ben-Hinnom ("valley of the son of Hinnom"), which flows into the Kidron valley to the east. The photo below shows the valley at the southern foothills of Mount Zion, which are seen on the left side. This deep valley made Mount Zion protected from this south side and the west side.
See more information on sites in the area of Mount Zion:
... more sites will be added soon
There are dozens of references to Mount Zion, most of them refer to the entire city rather to the hill itself.
Psalms 48:2: "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King".
King David was buried in his city, Jerusalem:
1 Kings 2: 10: "So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David".