Somehow, Jerusalem looks a bit different from different angles, and unfortunately many Israelis – due to what I perceive as somewhat ignorant political sensitivities – don’t make the effort to try and take a look at this city from the eastern side. It’s a shame, really, as the eastern side of Jerusalem, up on Mount Olive, offers some really interesting sights and slightly different perspective on Jerusalem.
So a few months ago after visiting my home MBA degree university, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus campus, I continued the drive into the eastern side of Jerusalem (which some Israelis would title “dangerous”) to visit the boardwalk with a very scenic view of Mount of Olives the eastern side of Jerusalem’s old city.
Here are a few panoramas to give you the whole perspective :
Key elements are easily identifiable, like Dome of the Rock …
The Russian church…
But what dominates the view are mostly the Mount of Olive graves, where people – mostly Christians and Jews – have asked to be buried so that when the Messiah comes to the Jerusalem from the east (riding a donkey, if I recall correctly), then they’ll be the first to resurrect.
What was a bit of a surprise to me, was realizing just how “white” Jerusalem is from this side, perhaps more inline with the desert landscape. In the western side, the white has a good balance with a lot of green, but somehow – perhaps due to the political and historical sensitivities, the eastern side has only scattered areas of green within a very stone-dominated view. So, while Tel Aviv has recently been UNESCO decalred “White City” for its unique Bauhaus white buildings, the real title might belong to eastern Jerusalem. Either way, both are very worth your visit.