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Mount Scopus, Jerusalem

Lookout Mount, or Mount Scopus (called Har HaTsofim in Hebrew) stands tall in the North-East Jerusalem. Its height from the sea level is 826m. This mount has a promenade (also known as ‘tayelet’), which helps visitors get a panoramic view of Jerusalem. No wonder Mount Scopus is called the ‘Lookout Mountain! This is not a single mount but includes a ridge of various mountains. Mount of Olives is one of them.

Landmarks on Mount Scopus

More than 100 years ago, in 1918, Mount Scopus witnessed the Hebrew University of Jerusalem taking shape on itself. Today this university contains a National Library and is a well-known Research Institute. The university campus proudly holds the Hecht Synagogue which is famous for its stunning views from the various corners of the Old City. In 1931, a botanical garden was established within the university grounds, now known as the National Botanical Gardens. These gardens include the largest collection of plants native to Israel. Also, one can find the burial Cave of Nicanor in these gardens. Nicanor is known for the gates he donated for the Second Jewish Temple (516BC-70AD), to complete its construction.

On this mount, there are many ancient burial caves for Jews in the Tabachnik Garden, which also has many east, west-facing points overlooking the Old City.

An important place on this mount’s slopes is Ammunition Hill. It was an important outpost of Jordan in the Six-Day War and saw a bloody and fierce battle. Today here stands a proud memorial as well as a museum. Apart from these landmarks, Mount Scopus also has cemeteries for the Jerusalem British War and the Jerusalem American Colony. The mount hosts the Bezalel Academy (Art and Design), Hadassah Hospital, and Bentwich Cemetery. The Hadassah Hospital should not be confused with the Hadassah Medical Center which is in Ein Kerem.

Historical Importance of Mount Scopus

A long, long time ago, the Roman army made their camps on this mountain, while planning to attack the city. That was in 66AD and that war destroyed the Second Jewish Temple. After many years, the Crusaders also camped on this mountain when they wanted to enter the ancient city. In 1948, the British moved back from Palestine and left the Jewish university and hospital open to attacks. This resulted in the Hadassah Medical Convoy Massacre where vehicles bringing supplies and the hospital staff were brutally attacked and 78 people lost their lives.

From the 1948 Arab-Israeli War to the 1967 Six-Day War, Jerusalem was divided into the east and West, two parts. East Jerusalem was under Jordan’s rule and West Jerusalem was under Israel. In the East Jordanian part, Israel’s enclave on Mount Scopus was an isolated part of Israel. In 1967, the mount was given back under the Israeli administration and at that time, it became the Jerusalem municipality’s part.

With such a varied and interesting history, won’t you like to look at the scenery from such an important mount in world history? Come, join our great tours of this great city, Jerusalem!

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