Built near the spot where according to Catholic tradition the Virgin Mary departed this world, the Dormition Abbey, otherwise known as the Hagia Maria Sion Abbey, is a German Benedictine basilica that was completed in 1910 by Kaiser Wilhelm, who purchased the land from Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Despite its twentieth century origins, the Dormition Abbey resembles a diminutive but stately medieval castle.
The architecture of the abbey is based on the same plans that were used to construct the Carolingian church in Aix-la-Chapelle. The basilica is built on the site of a much older Byzantine church, and the remains of the Byzantine mosaic floor can still be seen in the courtyard, protected under glass. More mosaics decorate the interior of the abbey, including a lush illustration of the Zodiac symbols. Another mosaic above the high altar depicts the Madonna and Child. Nearby on Mount Zion is the Room of the Last Supper, a room comprised of centuries-old vaulted ceilings, where the Last Supper is said to have taken place. Also nearby is David's Tomb, though it's unlikely that King David was in fact interred there.
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