Jerusalem is a city of hills and valleys. One of those hills is Mount Scopus. Located in the northeastern part of the city, Mount Scopus offers a unique and breathtaking panoramic view of the Old City overlooking the Kidron Valley. The other side of Mount Scopus faces the Judean Desert and Dead Sea — making a distinct contrast between the two areas.
Also known in Hebrew as Har Ha’Tzofim (Mountain of the Watchers), Mount Scopus is the highest spot in the city at almost 850 meters (2,789 feet) above sea level.
Historically, Mount Scopus has long been considered a place of military interest.
- It was used as a vantage point by the Roman legions of Titus during the Jewish Great Revolt of 66 AD.
- In 1099, the Crusaders ascended the hill to commemorate their arrival in the Holy Land and later used it as a base of operations.
More recently, Mount Scopus became home to the first campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, established in 1925. Hadassah Medical Center also resides on the hill as well as a cemetery for 3,000 British soldiers who were killed in the region during the First World War.
Visitors can walk through the botanical gardens on the Hebrew University campus. Established in 1931, the gardens feature almost a third of Israel’s 2,400 wildflower species, along with flora common to the region.
While Mount Scopus is easily accessible by car, visitors are also within walking distance to many biblical sites in the Holy City.