Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City.
Mount Zion has been historically associated with the Temple Mount. In the Bible, Mount Zion is synonymous with Mount Moriah, the site of the binding of Isaac and the Jewish Temple. The term is also used for the entire Land of Israel.
As we approach Mount Zion, we may note that it forms a natural extension of the Old City. As such it would have been logical for the wall to include the mountaintop, rather than follow its current line. Moreover, at times the ancient city walls did include Mount Zion.
The current old city walls that we see today were built, on top of the ancient walls, by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1535-8 after the ancient walls were destroyed during the 11th century by an earthquake. Sultan Suleiman chose the present course, rather than that of the ancient walls that enclosed Mount Zion, because at the time mainly cemeteries and churches – which he preferred to leave outside the city’s boundaries – occupied the mountain. Thus, the site assumed the character of a nature reserve of sorts.
There are neither shops nor residential buildings – just holy places and cemeteries.
The main holy sites to top of Mount Zion are:
- The Dormition Abbey
- The Last Supper Room and the Upper Room
- The tomb of King David
- Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu