Beneath the cemetery on the hillside of the Mount of Olives – and separating it from the Temple Mount – is the barren vale known as the Kidron Valley.
Legend says that on the Day of Judgment a wire will be stretched over the valley between the two hills, and all who wish to gain entry into the next life will have to walk the wire across the gap.
In the days of the Second Temple Jerusalem’s leading families cut grand mausoleums for their dead into the soft rock of the valley floor. The three most recognized are known as the Pillar of Absalom, and the Tombs of St. James and Zachariah.
Although named after the rebellious son of the Biblical king, David, the Pillar of Absalom was in fact built much later, in the first century AD. The tomb of carrying the name of St. James is the entrance to the catacombs used for generations by one of Jerusalem’s most prominent priestly families, the Hezir’s.
It dates back well over 2,100 years. The Tomb of Zachariah, with its unusual pyramid-shaped roof, is recognized as one of the finest examples of Second Temple period funerary architecture.
The Kidron Valley Tombs are cut into the soft rock at the base of the Mount of Olives.
This page is part of the book The Holy Land of JesusShare this page with your friends
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