The mountain used to be called the "mountain of happiness," and the "Mount of Destruction" - a name derived from the sacrificing ritual that took place nearby.
The importance of this mountain is mainly religious. This place is very important to Christianity, who see the mountain as a place where Jesus was during his last days in Jerusalem, and since the Middle Ages many churches built here have made this place a Christian center, as well as for Islam, who connects the mountain with the Day of Judgment in the End of Days, as mentioned in the Quran.
Judaism's connection to the mountain come from the days of the Temple, as the place of the Sacrificing Red Heifer ceremony, a ceremony to purify a person's impurity from whatever polluted it. Even after the destruction of the Temple and until the early Middle Ages, when the Romans didn't allow Jews to live in Jerusalem. At the same time Jews were not allowed to visit the Olive Mount, expect on Tisha B'Av, they would come here to look onto the Temple Mount and cry over the destruction of the Temple.
There are many churches at the Olive Mount, among them is the Church of Mary Magdalene, Church of All Nations, also called "Get Sh'manime." Nearby is the Church of Our Heavenly Father, the Russian Church of Ascension to Sky, with its tower, as well as the Church of Augusta Victoria.
The Jewish Cemetery spreads about the southern part of the hill, and towards Nachal Kidron. The place used to be a burial spot for the Cana'anites, thanks to its distance from the city and softness of the ground.
At the bottom of Mount of Olives, there are remains of Jewish gravestones from the first and second Temple periods. Jewish burials were recorded here from the Middle Ages.
During the Jordanian rule over East Jerusalem, since the War of Independence in 1948 and until Jerusalem's release in 1967, the cemetery was desecrated, and a hotel was even built on top of it.
Here are buried, among the others, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who asked to be buried here, instead of the area for the nation's leaders on Mount Herzl. Also, Shay Agnon, Rabbi Kook and Eliezer Ben Yehuda are buried here, not far from them, in the Christian section outside the fence, is also buried Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist, documented in the film "Schindler's List" after saving hundreds of Jews during the Holocaust.
Pay attention - there is no public transportation on the top of the hill