Jerusalem Sights

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

  • Between Suq Khan e-Zeit and Christian Quarter Rd. Map It
  • Christian Quarter
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 05/04/2017

Fodor's Review

This church, which was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century (the fourth to be built on this site), is believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified by the Romans, was buried, and rose from the dead. The site was officially consecrated, and the first church built here, following the visit in AD 326 by Helena, mother of the Byzantine emperor Constantine the Great. It and the adjacent Via Dolorosa encompass the stations of the cross.

Steep steps take you up from the church to Golgotha, or Calvary, as the site of the crucifixion is described in the New Testament. At the foot of the hill, opposite the main entrance, is the rectangular pink Stone of Unction, where, it is said, the body of Jesus was cleansed and prepared for burial. The tomb of Jesus, encased in a pink marble edifice (and under a restoration that is expected to be completed during 2017) is in the rotunda to the left of the main entrance of the church.

The church is shared, albeit unequally and uncomfortably,

by six Christian denominations: Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Egyptian Coptic, and Ethiopian, under an agreement imposed by the Ottoman Turkish authorities in 1852. Each section guarded by its own denomination.

If you visit in the late afternoon (the time changes with the seasons), you can watch the groups in turn—Greek Orthodox, Latins (as Roman Catholics are known in the Holy Land), Armenian Orthodox, and Egyptian Copts—in procession from Calvary to the tomb. A modern agreement among the Greeks, the Latins, and the Armenians on the interior restoration of the great dome was hailed as an almost miraculous breakthrough in ecumenical relations. For information about the church, see the feature "Jerusalem: Keeping the Faith" in this chapter.

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Sight Information


Between Suq Khan e-Zeit and Christian Quarter Rd., Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Map It



Sight Details:

  • Free

Published 05/04/2017


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