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Pope's Way, leading to Mount Zion
Mount Zion ( , Har Tsion) is an elevation west of the Mount of Olivesmarker in Jerusalemmarker. Jewish scriptures apply the term "Mount Zion" to the Temple Mountmarker or the City of Davidmarker, both located on this elevation. For Jews the term "Zion" became a synecdoche referring to the entire city of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.

Change in meaning

Later the name became associated with a hill just outside the walls of the Old Citymarker, at the southern end of that elevation. The identification dates from the Middle Ages.

History

Between 1948 and 1967, when the Old City was under Jordanianmarker occupation, Jews were forbidden access to the Jewish holy places. Mount Zion was a designated no-man's land between Israel and Jordan. Mount Zion was the closest accessible site to the ancient Jewish Templemarker. Until the reunification of the city in the Six-Day War, Jews were forced to climb to the rooftop of David's Tombmarker to pray.The winding road leading up to Mount Zion is known as Pope's Way (Derekh Ha'apifyor). It was paved in honor of the historic visit to Jerusalem of Pope Paul VI in 1964.

Legends

According to local legend, the two engineers who planned the restoration of the Old City walls in 1538 mistakenly left Mt. Zion and King David’s tomb outside the walls. The Turkish sultan was so enraged that he had the two put to death.

Landmarks

Important sites on Mount Zion are Dormition Abbey, King David's Tombmarker and the Room of the Last Supper. Most historians and archeologists today do not regard "David's Tomb" there to be the actual burial place of King David. The Chamber of the Holocaust (Martef HaShoah), the precursor of Yad Vashemmarker, is also located on Mount Zion. Another place of interest is the Catholic cemetery where Oskar Schindler, a Righteous Gentile who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews in the Holocaust, is buried. Notable burials in the Protestant cemetery on Mt. Zion include the architect Conrad Schick.

References

  1. Jerusalem Divided: The Armistice Regime, 1947-1967, Raphael Israeli, Routledge, 2002, p. 6
  2. Bible sites: Mount Zion



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