Bnei Hezir

Grotto of St James

Useful Information

Location: Kidron Valley, Jerusalem. Bus Nos. 1 , 42, 43.
Open: no restrictions
Fee: free
Classification: SubterraneaCrypts
Light: n/a
Guided tours:  
Address: Municipal Tourist Information Centre (MTIO), Tel: 628-0457 or 628-0382.
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In the Kidron Valley, just beyond Absalom's Pillar, this is where St James is believed to have hidden when Jesus was arrested nearby. It is probably the burial place of the Bnei Hezir's, a family of Jewish priests. (Nehemiah 10:21)

Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.

The Kidron valley is located east of Jerusalem city center, between the city and the Mount of Olives. Here is the biggest Jewish cemetery of the world, at the slopes of the Mount of Olives. There are four tombs in the Kidron valley:

  1. Absalom's Pillar, said to be the tomb of David favored son.
  2. Tomb of Jehosaphat to the left.
  3. Pyramid of Zechariah.
  4. Mausoleum of Bnei Hezir.

The Hezir were a priestly family in the time of the first temple, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 24:15. the Second Temple period Hebrew inscription above Doric column indicates tombs of Hasmonaean priestly family. Some Christians believe skeleton found in 4th century was that of Jesus' cousin, James. James may have hidden here after Jesus' arrest. In 15th century, site claimed as Tomb of St. James.