Fodor's Expert Review Rachel's Tomb

Bethlehem Tomb

The Bible relates that the matriarch Rachel, second and favorite wife of Jacob, died in childbirth on the outskirts of Bethlehem, "and Jacob set up a pillar upon her grave" (Genesis 35:19–20). There is no trace of that pillar, but, for centuries Jews, Christians, and Muslims venerated the velvet-draped cenotaph inside the building as the site of Rachel's tomb. Palestinians call the site the Bilal Ben Rabah Mosque, and a Muslim cemetery lies beside it.

Today, the site is a concrete-enclosed Israeli enclave punched into Bethlehem and only accessible from the Israeli side. Visitors, especially Jewish women, come to pray for good health, fertility, and a safe birth. Some pilgrims wind a red thread seven times around the tomb, and wear snippets of it around their wrists as a talisman. Note that men and women are separated here and have different entrances. Superbus 163 runs from Jerusalem's Central Bus Station to the tomb.


Quick Facts

Rte. 60


Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sat. and Jewish holidays

What’s Nearby

Related Forum Posts