The Kidron Valley (classical transliteration, Cedron, from Hebrew: נחל קדרון, Naḥal Qidron; also Qidron Valley; Arabic: وادي الجوز, Wadi al-Joz for the upper segment near the Temple Mount, and Wadi an-Nar for the rest of it) is the valley on the eastern side of The Old City of Jerusalem, separating the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives. It continues east through the Judean Desert, towards the Dead Sea, descending 4000 feet along its 20 mile course. The settlement Kedar, located on a ridge above the valley, is named after it. The neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz bears the valley’s Arabic name. The Hebrew Bible calls it Emek Yehoshafat, the “Valley of Jehoshaphat”. It appears in Jewish eschatologic prophecies, which include the return of Elijah, followed by the arrival of the Messiah, and the War of Gog and Magog and Judgment Day. The central point of reference for the Kidron Valley is its confluence of Jerusalem’s richest concentration of rock-hewn tombs. This area, located on the periphery of the village Silwan, was one of the main burial grounds of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. Several of these tombs were also used later in time, either as burial or as shelters for hermits and monks of the large monastic communities, which inhabited the Kidron Valley. The ancient tombs in this area attracted the attention of ancient travelers, most notably Benjamin of Tudela. A constant source of confusion is the fact that the modern name “Kidron Valley” (Nahal Kidron in Hebrew) applies to the entire length of a long wadi, which starts north of the Old City of Jerusalem and ends at the Dead Sea, while the biblical names Nahal Kidron, Emek Yehoshafat, King’s Valley etc. might refer to certain parts of this valley located in the immediate vicinity of ancient Jerusalem, but not to the entire wadi, and certainly not to the long segment crossing the Judean desert. Similarly, in Arabic every more substantial wadi has many names, each applied to a certain distinct segment of its course.
- AddressEastern side of The Old City of Jerusalem
- CategoryHistorical Sites
- TagsHistorical Sites, Jerusalem, Jerusalem District