Days out in Jerusalem

Emek HaMatzleva

Emek HaMatzleva or Valley of the Cross is where the wood was (according to tradition) chopped to form the cross. Presumably in Roman times this was in the “wilds” outside town. A Greek Orthodox monastery marks the spot. Today, however, it is a pleasant area in the inner suburbs effectively forming a border for the prestigious Rehavia neighbourhood; and is part of the green area around the Israel Museum and Knesset.

The main path through the Valley is around 800m long – with no vehicular access for most of the length. It runs from the Greek Monastery to Gan Sacher (connecting under the road.) Up on the top of the hill is the Israel Museum (& Bible Lands Museum) and the Knesset.

The slopes of the valley are suitable for wandering, with easy to walk paths, olive trees and flowers. A couple of years ago there was a deer that escaped from somewhere and made its home here for a couple of weeks.

In October-November you will see individuals and groups harvesting the olive trees in the traditional manner of carpet/sheet on the ground and banging the branches to persuade the olives to fall off.

The valley is incredibly popular with walkers, joggers, cyclists and people who just want to get out. even though they are still really in the city center. The monastery is open most days for visits.

Emek HaMatzleva is easily combined with a visit to the museums or to Gan Sacher (see Jerusalem Playgrounds).

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