Kidron Valley
Outside the Walls of Jerusalem

The Kidron Valley called in Hebrew Emek Jehoshaphat and the Kidron River- Nahal Kidron separate the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. It appears in many prophecies like the return of Elijah followed by the arrival of the Messiah and the Judgment Day.

The Valley between Temple Mount and Mount of Olives

About the valley
The valley and stream run all the way to the Dead Sea and on its 32 Km of length, drops a total of 1,200 meters from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.

During the summer months of April to September it does not get any rain, therefore the valley floor becomes very hard. During the winter rainy months the water flows to the Dead Sea, sometimes causing enormous floods.

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The Tomb of Absalom the son of King David in the Valley

Brief History

This is the site of many burials during the times of the Second Temple Period. The tombs were later used as shelters for monks and hermits of many of the Monastic communities that inhabited the Kidron Valley.  Among the tombs including the Pillar of Absalom, are the Tomb of Zachariah and the tomb of Bnei Hezir.

King David fled across the Valley escaping from his son Absalom that wanted to replace his father as King. He was caught by Joab, one of King David’s generals, killed and buried in a pit in this valley, instead of the Pillar of Absalom built by him earlier.

After the destruction of the Second Temple, Jews were not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount and instead gathered to mourn the destruction of the Temple near the Tomb of Zachariah located outside Jerusalem’s walls.

The New Testament tells us that Jesus passed through the Kidron Valley and the Golden Gate on his triumphant entry to Jerusalem. After the Las Supper he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane that is located at the beginning of the Valley.

The Tombs of Bnei Hezir and Zachariah in the valley

Ancient Beliefs

The three Monotheistic Religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, believe the area of this Valley is the place where the “End of Days” will take place.

For Judaism it is the arrival of Mashiach, or the Messiah, that will make the dead to rise and bring the dawn of the current age and begin the new Messianic Age. For Christians it is the second coming of Jesus and for Muslims the place of the Day of Judgment

Tomb of Mary the Mother of Jesus in the Valley

Tomb of Mary

In Kidron Valley you may also see the tomb of Mary mother of Jesus. 1,500 years ago, Christians built the first church there and by the time of the Crusaders it was almost completely destroyed. In 1130 a new church was built that has survived the big floods on the Valley from the Kidron Stream.

Mar Saba Monastery overlooking the Valley

Mar Saba

Mar Saba is a Greek Orthodox Monastery overlooking the Valley founded around the year 483 by St Sabas of Mutalaska. Today it hosts 20 monks and it’s believed to be one of the oldest inhabited monasteries in the world.

images credits:
ben hezir zachariah by eman
the valley by deror aviv
mary's tomb by alex eleon
mar saba by kaasmail
absalom tombby matanya

all courtesy of wikimedia commons

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