Abu Tor (lit. “Father of the Bull”) also known as “Hanania Hill” is a neighborhood in central Jerusalem, south of the Old City. In the Medieval times, the neighborhood appears to be called “Mount Gihon” the name of the Gihon Spring is due east of the hill, in the Kidron Valley. The name “Hanania Hill” was given in 1958. The source of the name, Hanania, is from the high priest during the Second Temple. His summer house was standing on the hilltop in this neighborhood. According to Josephus, Hanania is also buried at the top of the hill. However, his tomb has as yet not been identified. Abu Tor is bounded by the Hebron Road and the old Jerusalem Railway Station to the west, and the Sherover Promenade, and Peace Forest to the south.
The neighborhood is located high on Abu Tor Hill at the height of 777 mtr. above sea level with views in three directions. To the north, you have the views of the Old City, the Old City walls, and the Temple Mount. To the east, one sees views of the Judean Desert, the Moab Mountains and the valley of the Silwan neighborhood. To the south, there are views of Government House, Haas & Sherover Promenade and the East Talpiot neighborhood.
Today, the area consists of upscale homes made up of old prestigious villas and modern apartments, all built in keeping with the topography of the area. This neighborhood has a number of small parks and playgrounds. The streets are lined with trees and many private gardens flourish. The neighborhood consists of about 400 families including many journalists, diplomats and United Nations employees. While the Jewish section of Abu Tor is predominantly secular, the neighborhood has three synagogues – Har Refaim Synagogue and Shalom V’Achva Synagogue & the Chabad House. This neighborhood is now considered a luxury neighborhood, where authentic Arab style houses stand next to modern apartment buildings, combining the old with the new in preserving the special ambience of Abu-Tor.
Abu Tor is a secluded, pastoral area with a country feeling within the city. It is an easy walk to the center of town and many of Jerusalem’s famous landmarks and entertainment attractions. Abu-Tor reaches out towards the beauty of “the Peace Forest”, making it a unique and sought-after neighborhood in Jerusalem.