This famous church stands at the site where, according to Christian belief, Jesus was killed, buried and later raised from the dead.
Of all the holy Christian sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most famous. Join the many Christian pilgrims who come here to view sacred spots associated with Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
Learn about the long history of the site. The church was built in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine I on the site of an old pagan temple. During excavations, workers came across what they claimed to be the Holy Sepulchre, the tomb of Jesus.
Examine the unusual design of the church. An original church building was destroyed in the early 11th century and a new complex was later constructed by the Muslims and Byzantines, This construction was in turn altered and added to by the Crusaders, Franciscans, Greek Orthodox and later the Armenian Apostolic leaders. The holy site is now divided among three major Christian sects: Roman Catholic, Armenian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox. Coptic, Ethiopian and Syriac Orthodox sects also control certain portions of the complex.
Venture inside and discover the main sites associated with Jesus’ death and resurrection. Look for the Stone of Anointing near the front entrance. This is believed to be where the body of Jesus was prepared before burial.
Climb the stairway to the second floor to see the site of Calvary, also known as Golgotha. Jesus was said to have been crucified here. His tomb is housed inside a marble chapel, called the Edicule, located under the rotunda. Here, view the Angel’s Stone, which may have functioned as the lid to the tomb. Examine the tomb itself.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is about a 10-minute walk from the Western Wall. It is open daily and entrance is free. The church is very popular among sightseers and Christian pilgrims. Get here very early to avoid the crowds. A modest dress code is enforced, so be sure your shoulders, legs and back are covered.
During Easter Week, traditional services and processions are held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, with significantly more crowding. You may see events streamed on large screens in the area outside the church.