A tour book informed me of the bell tower view and so after paying my five shekels, I began the tight circular upward climb -- 177 steps. It is a tight fit -- you are more or less wedged in as you go up -- and very circular, so not for the claustrophobic. There a few rest areas on the way up.
The view is spectacular. You also get a view onto the roofs and into the tiny gardens of old city residents. The old city can be seen from all four sides and there is an open area in the bell tower, so room for several people.
I was up there at about noon on a Friday and the call to Friday prayers was wafting out over the city. A really great experience as I happily clicked away on my camera.
After this, I didn't feel the need to go to the Mount of Olives just to take photos of the city. It's really excellent, and good exercise too. A "holy" stairmaster!
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