Kidron Valley, Jerusalem
Stretching from North to South, the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem divides the western part of Mount of Olives from the eastern part of the Old City. Following the lines of the Eastern wall of the Old City, tourists get to enjoy the miraculous scenery of the valley enriched with churches on the Mount of the Olives. But, this sight holds more than that, mysterious ancient tombs, as well as the monuments covered with olive groves, show the rough trail which leads all the way up to the Mount of Olives. Even tho many would enjoy the area between the Old City and the Mount of Olives, Kidron Valley spreads for more than 30km providing the way out to the Dead Sea.
The Old Testament depicts the valley a number of times. Some mentions include worshipped idols by King Asa, as well as Athaliah’s execution. Besides, the Valley provided sanctuary for David while fleeing his rebellious son Absalom. In Joel 3:2, 12 is stated that God will join all nations in the Kidron Valley of Jehoshaphat to face their final judgment.
After the last supper, Jesus and his apostles headed to the Mount of Olives and crossed the Kidron Valley. Based on the New Testament, he prayed and got arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane subjacent of the Mount of Olives. During his lifetime, Jesus has walked along the Kidron valley numerous times. In the Matthew 4:8, we have a chance to see the devil daring Jesus to jump from the top of the Temple.
From 521 BC to 70 AD, during the Second Temple period, the valley had a bridge which connected Temple Mount to the Mount of Olives. Once a year, the scapegoat would be sent across the bridge into the wilds as a benefaction instead of the people’s sins. The day is known as the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).
Three 2,000 years old tombs located into the Mount of Olives make the main site of the Kidron Valley. These magnificent old tombs were made during Jesus’ lifetime. For hundreds of years, people have searched for burial sites in the valley and Mount of Olives. Some believe that being buried in the Kidron Valley is the perfect spot to rest because when the Messiah appears, this is the first place he will resurrect.
The first tomb holds the inscription in Hebrew that says “the sons of Hezir”, it used to belong to a priest’s family. The second one, the tomb in the middle, called Zechariah’s Tomb holds a small chamber located at the square rocky base topped with a pointed roof. And, the third one, located in the south area, made of rocks has never been finished. Up north from these tombs sits another, ancient tomb, which while under construction, has been seen by Jesus, also known as, the Pillar of Absalom. Shaped entirely of bedrock, this square-shaped single block of stone has beautifully cut conical roof holding eight-chambered inscrpited catacombs underneath. They are positioned to the left and date from 400 AD.