The ancient olive trees on the Mount of Olives


These are probably the most famous trees in the world. They are situated in the yard of the Church of All Nations, also known as the Basilica of the Agony, which is at the foot of the southern side of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
The trees are magnificent with their twisted, picturesque trunks, full of twists and even hollow and inclining trunks. Despite their antiquity, there is no precise scientific knowledge about their age. The theories range from 800 to around 2,000 years old. It is possible that the trees are here from Second Temple times, and are remnants of the olive groves in the Kidron Valley. Without a doubt the site being in the hands of the Moslems and later the Christians, as well as it being guarded, protected and cared for helped in the preservation of the trees.
Christian tradition relates that Jesus prayed here during his final days. The thousands of Christian tourists who visit the site testify to the importance of the trees and the place.
The traveler, Bartlett, who visited Palestine in the mid-nineteenth century, describes the Church of All Nations in this way, “there is something unprecedentedly impressive in this place, where there is heavy silence, between the dense olive trees and the wall closing in on them in the east. For many generations, pilgrims have bent down here and kissed the trees while tears of joy ran down their cheeks. They took a piece of the tree as a keepsake...”
Pilgrims from the seventh century C.E. already speak about the trees. From the fifteenth century onwards, they are described as, “the largest and most ancient olive trees in the Land of Israel.” The site can be visited seven days a week between 10 and 12 o’clock.