The Tomb of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi
(Arabic: Qubur el Anbia) is located on the upper slope of
the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel. According to
Jewish and Christian tradition, the catacomb is believed to
be the burial place of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, the
last three Hebrew Bible prophets who are believed to have
lived during the 5th-6th centuries BCE.
The entrance to the large rock-cut burial cave is on the
western side, where a staircase descends, flanked on both
sides by a stone balustrade, down to the central hall.
The chamber forms two concentric passages containing 38
burial niches. Research shows that the complex actually
dates from the 1st-centruy BCE, when these style of tombs
came into use for Jewish burial. Some Greek inscriptions
discovered at the site suggest the cave was re-used to bury
foreign Christians during the 4th and 5th centuries CE.
The site has been venerated by the Jews since medieval
times, and they often visited the site. In the late
19th-century, a Russian priest tried to purchase the
location in order to build a church over the site. The sale
was prevented due to a protest to the Turkish government by
the Jews who contested the plan.
Though burial sites might not seem like the most exciting stop on most vacations, being able to visit the Tombs of the Prophets on a Holy Land tour is definitely a treat! This ancient underground burial site is located close to the top of the Mount of Olives and is believed by Jews and Christians to be where Haggai and Zachariah were buried. Filled with mystery, the semicircular catacombs are kept by the Russian Orthodox Church. One of the first things Christian Israel tours point out are the 50 rock-cut, empty graves that are spread out and connected by corridors. This burial site was in use by Jerusalemites for about a thousand years, from 500 BCE to 500 CE. Archaeologists wonder what this place was originally used for, prior to being a burial ground, as it has a rock-cut trough with what was once a water pipe. As with so many other things in Jerusalem, there is so much more than what can be seen on the surface!
(America Israel Travel)