Where is the original Golgotha, or Calvary, where according to the New Testament Jesus was crucified and buried?
The Catholics, Greek Orthodox and other Eastern churches believe that Golgotha was where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands, inside the Old City walls of today. The Protestants, however, point to a totally different location, outside Damascus Gate. This hypothesis was raised by the British General Charles Gordon in the 19th century. When he looked at the hill outside Damascus Gate he had a nystical experience, saw a pair of eyes and a mouth on the hill which made it look like a skull, and identified the hill as Golgotha.
Today this is an impressive religious site which is managed by the Committee of the Garden Tomb Association. It consists of a beautiful garden with a view of the hill itself (now occupied by a Muslim cemetery), and the cave of the tomb, which has a small atrium and two empty tombs. In the garden there is also an ancient winepress (see photo) and a huge ancient water cistern.
Archaelogists actually date this tomb (and several others nearby) to the period of the First Temple, hundreds of years before Christ, but this does not detract from the appeal of the Garden Tomb. The believers can visualize the hill, the garden and the ancient tomb, and the whole story from the New Testament comes to life for them: Joseph of Arimathea donated the empty tomb, which he had prepared for himself, to the entombment of Jesus.
In the garden there are many areas for groups of pilgrims to sit together, listen to sermons, pray and sing. During our tour of the garden we were impressed by groups from all corners of the globe, each singing and praying in their own language and style: Germans, Scandinavians, African Americans from Chicago, Nigerians (see video)...
No matter what your denomination is, the Garden Tomb is a place of beauty and inspiration.
In Arab Eastern Jerusalem, a few hundred metres from Damascus Gate, on Nablus Road the Garden Tomb can be found. It is a quiet garden area; protestants / evangelical christians believe that the nearby Skull Hill is Golgotha. From the Gardens, the rocky Skull Hill (shaped like a skull) next to Suleyman bus station can be seen. Inside the gardens, an old tomb can be visited; protestants believe that this could have been the tomb of Jesus.
Most people believe that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the actual location, and probably they are right. Only in the 19th century an English archeologer proposed this place. For protestants, the silence of the gardens in the middle of a hectic city is a more worthy place for worshipping then the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
This can be easily viewed from a platform at the adjacent Garden Tomb. It does not take too much imagination to see a "skull" in this rock. This lends support to the belief of many that this was the site of the crucifixion of Jesus.
There is dispute as to whether the death and resurrection of Jesus happened here or on the site of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City.
There is a lovely peaceful garden here you can wander around, the time I visited there was a group of people singing, which was very pleasent.
The Garden Tomb bizarrely seemed very British & felt homely .
I thought I had photos of the Garden tomb, but they are hiding at the moment.
Free to get in, closed Sundays
This hill was discovered by British General Gordon on a visit to Jerusalem in 1883. The Scriptures tell us that Christ was crucified at Golgatha, which means "place of the skull" which accurately describes a skull-shaped hill less than a hundred meters from the site of the tomb outside the old city walls. Both the skull-shaped hill, known as Gordon's Calvary, and the Garden Tomb are outside the limits of the Old City. Even though the present walls do not follow the same line as those of the first century, both hill and tomb still certainly lie outside the first-century wall, as burial places were considered "unclean" and forbidden within the city walls.