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“Peaceful retreat”
Review of Dormition Abbey

Dormition Abbey
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Half Day Small Group Tour to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv
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Jerusalem Full Day Tour from Tel Aviv
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Jerusalem Full Day Tour
Ranked #53 of 310 things to do in Jerusalem
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Owner description: Located on Mount Zion, this massive church resembles a mighty fortress with a high, domed belltower and conical dome.
New York
Level 6 Contributor
295 reviews
171 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 181 helpful votes
“Peaceful retreat”
Reviewed June 11, 2014

Very beautiful church located outside of the old city's zion gate (notice the bullet holes from the '67 conflict when Jerusalem was conquered by Israel). The mosaic work is gorgeous and worthy of artistic appreciation. Interestingly, when we visited there was a group of visitors (I could not figure out their language) but one of the women looked frighteningly similar to the image of Mary in the apse mosaic, which was a highlight moment, as it is well known that artists would use models from their own community for their artwork. Later, talking to my cousin, she told me that when her father used to pain icons, he would paint my aunt's eyes.

Interestingly, the church floor is covered by a mosaic depicting the signs of the zodiac and the 12 months of the year, which is a characteristic of pagan symbols found throughout the ancient synagogues such as Beth Alpha and Hammat Tverya, the two that come to mind at the moment. The Abbey leaflet explains it as a representation of "the One who is the origin of all creatures and their source of life: he is it who holds all things together." P.S. if you are visiting on your own schedule, take a pamphlet (near the store) and read it while actually inside to add meaning to the beauty that you see.

Finally, looking at the pictures posted by other users, I wish I could have noticed the little unicorn mosaic, if you read this in time, search for it when you are there...and share your impressions with us when you return :)

EXTRA: If you have the time to explore, at the exit turn left and continue away from the old city. You will notice a wall building block (on your right) with what looks like Georgian writing (can anyone confirm this?). I believe it was re-used from another structure, which is very characteristic since the very beginning of time, and it is interesting to see it here.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank kitty567
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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124 reviews from our community

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Falls Church, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
242 reviews
148 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 961 helpful votes
“Excellent but visitors please observe proper rules”
Reviewed May 30, 2014

I loved this church & the mosaics were quite beautiful. I enjoyed the serenity of this Church.

However, as a Catholic, I was appalled by some visitors apparent disregard for rules when inside a Catholic Church.

Gentleman PLEASE remove your hats. Women do not need to wear hats.

Only use the holy water to bless yourself if you are Catholic.

Don't cross in the front of the Church- it's better to do it in back of the Church. Most Catholics crossing will genuflect & make the sign of the cross.

This is a Church- please don't speak loudly inside.

Thank you

Visited May 2014
1 Thank DianeER
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gulf shores
Level 6 Contributor
254 reviews
142 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 320 helpful votes
“Our first site we visited on Mount Zion”
Reviewed May 25, 2014

My wife and I visited the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion in May 2014. Christian tradition identifies this as the place where the virgin Mary died. The building has a conical roof and four corner towers. It stands south of the old city's Zion gate. Nearby soars the bell tower of the Hagia Maria Sion Abbey. The church and the bell tower sit right at the top of Mount Zion. There is a raised platform by the church where you take take great overall pictures of Mount Zion and the surrounding areas. Both Jerusalem and Ephesus claim to be the place where the virgin Mary died and was buried. Scripture does not tell us anything about her death or burial. In a crypt below the church is a life size image of Mary in death.

Visited May 2014
Thank nohassle1956
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Doncaster, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
532 reviews
347 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 232 helpful votes
“Beautiful and impressive”
Reviewed May 18, 2014

Although relatively new, the Neo-Romanesque Church of the Dormition, which dominates Mt Zion just outside the City walls is definitely worth a visit. It is where the Virgin Mary is said to have lived after the death of Jesus, falling into an “eternal sleep”.
The church has two levels – the main church and the crypt, both equally impressive. The mosaics and artwork which cover almost every surface, including the floor, are stunning. In the crypt there is an ivory sculpture of the sleeping Virgin.
We liked it so much, we went twice.

Visited May 2014
Thank Richard_Harpum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Battle Creek, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
197 reviews
80 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Very Spiritual”
Reviewed June 4, 2013

I enjoyed the walk to this site through narrow alleys. I could catch a glimpse of the Abbey and it made for some spectacular photos. When we entered the building, it was late in the day and the cafe was closed and so was the gift shop. It was quiet and serene with just a few other visitors. The site of the dormition was marked by a beautiful memorial, with a tribute to Mary and other biblical women.

Visited May 2013
Thank Pecan10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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