This is one of the main Christian pilgrimage destinations in Israel, maybe in the entire world. Together with the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. Being such an important place it is shared by endless number of Christian churches. Except for the protestant churches, which believe Jesus was burried elsewhere, you can find all the others here: Armenian, Greek-Orthodox, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Roman-Catholic and many more.
There is an endless number of stories about the church its internal politics. Before entering the church, look up. You will see a ladder in one of the windows. This was put there when the window got broken. Only this act caused a diplomatic crisis. If one cult will fix the window it will be like admitting this cult is the owner of the church. So, work was stopped and the arguments started. Even the Pope had to get involved.
In the church, there is little chapel which is completely burnt. It looks like a cave as it completely black. this is the Syrian chapel. It caught fire from one of the candles, but they couldn't get permission to restore it. so, they had to keep praying in a burnt chapel. Another great story is the one about the Ethiopian and Coptic monks, see about it in the Ethiopian Village tip.
Because of all of this, there is a tradition that the person in charge of the church key is not Christian but Muslim. There is a very old Jerusalem family who are in charge of the key. The responsibility is passed from father to son. Each morning thisMuslim person comes and open the church and each evening it comes to close it.
In the photo, you can see the people kissing the floor. The marble plate they are kissing is believed to be the rock where the body of Jesus was put after he was brought down from the cross.
For much of the Christian world, this could be considered the holiest site in the world. The architecture is very interesting and a lot of different branches of Christianity lay claim to certain sections of the church. There is nothing visibly left of a tomb or the hill on which the cross stood. Basically, there are a lot of shrines, altars, and chambers to this complex. The tomb is covered by a marble slab.
It was not crowded when we visited, mostly because of the troubles in this region. We got into the tomb right away. It is my understanding that people would often have to wait in a line to get in to certain places. It was nice to avoid that. You may run into people who want to be your tour guide or sell you something. A peaceful visit to this place might not be possible. That and the way that the sites are built over may make the visit less than what you hoped it would be.
You might want to also visit the Garden Tomb just outside the Damascus Gate during your visit. Many also the Garden Tomb as the site of the burial. I highly recommend visiting both sites. They really contrast with one another. Although a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher might not yield any earth shaking religious experiences, it is worth a look.
Technically this isn't actually one church as in fact there are 36 (or thereabouts) different churches inside the one huge building. Catholics, Orthodox, Copts, Armenians, Ethiopians... all have their own churches and priests here and relationships are not always easy-going. I was told that the main key had to be given to a Muslim family to look after, in order to stop the different churches squabbling!
It was built in 335 by Emperor Constantine, and added to by the Crusaders, on the site where it is believed Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. As befitting a church with so many influences, the architecture and design inside differs at every turn. It's dark and garishly decorated with lots of gold and rich colours, and very very sombre. I can't say it was a particularly welcoming or uplifting church, but I found its eerie and mysterious atmosphere and shadowy corners fascinating.
At various times throughout the day, the priests and monks carry out their own ceremonies and the church often echoes with the sound of monastic hymns.
The Church or the Holy Sepulchre is the most important Christian site in Israel. It was first built by Emperor Constantine I in the year 333AD, but today's structure is from the age of the crusaders.
The church contains some of the last stations in Christ's journey to his crucifixion.
This is a must for every traveller reaching Jerusalem.
As with the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the relationship between the different fractions (Latins Greeks & Armenians) of Monks who are based in the church are very strained.
It took the various fraction of the church 32 years to agree on a repair program following the 1927 earthquake, apparently due to different denominations claiming areas which belonged to others................Religion! (~_~)
The keys for the Church have been in the hands of a local Muslim family for centurys who lock and unlock the church daily. They recieve a small nominal fee for this service
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is on the site it is believed the crucifixion, burial and resurrction of Jesus. This is the premier site in Christian pilgrimage, but quite unimpressive. The puffed up egos of many of the monks you see flouncing around the place does not help the "welcoming " atmosphere.
The Church is much smaller than the original, fire and earthquakes have caused the church to be rebuilt in different Christian styles over the centurys.
The last 5 of the 14 Stations of the Cross are to be found inside the Holy Sepulchre.
Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City is the Rock which Jesus was thought to have been crucified upon. I have to admit I am quite ignorant about the situation exactly, as I though the site of the Crucifixion was in the Garden Tomb outside the city walls. Maybe they extracted the Rock & put it in the Holy Sepulchre,
OR.......................... Maybe I am mistaken & the church was built around the rock!
Much of what was said in the Crucifixion Tip relates to this one.
This photo was taken again, in the Holy Sepulchre & it is thought to be where Jesus was laid when he was taken off the Cross
View looking up at the dome over the tomb of Jesus.
We got to the church walking through the Jaffa Gate and the Christian quarter (visiting on our way the Western Wall). I was not able to difference the Armenian and Christian quarters during our walk through the Zoco.
Looking at the left, when you go out of the main entrance, you can find the bell tower of the church.
Outside you will find many guides offering their services to guide you through the church. You can see easily that Jerusalem have lived better days. As a person that lives in a tourist city, and that most of the outcomes come from tourist is very sad to see Jerusalem as it is now.
Well even if it is not the original, this was constructed as it used to be the original tomb of Jesus.
You will find penitents (and tourist) waiting to enter. I was the first one to enter, when I saw a women inside cleaning the tomb and crying very affectionate (It was a little scary)
Whether this is or not the original place, we will leave it to the experts, But I am sure it is difficult to mark after so long and so little information.
By the way I do not like photos inside churches, as I found it very inadequate for the practises, but as I also founded very tourist orientated, and they were complaining about Tal dressed (well a 14 years old, should not be treated like that, the clothes do not make you better person), I did not complain when Stace took the photo.
this is the main entrance when you enter through the Christian quarter. (By the way the shops close to it, will try to sell you candles, as soon as they see you are a tourist going there, and as I said before as there is not many tourist, they can be very insistent).
There are 5 Christian communities that share the Church having each one its own part: the Roman Catholic, the Greek Orthodox, the Armenian, the Coptic and the Syrian Orthodox.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (fot the Greek Orthodox it is called Church of the Resurrection) is the most sacred place for the Christians.
Here are the last five Stations of the Cross and also they say that here was Jesus crucified, burial and also resurrected
You may find many people outside offering to be your guides. As there are not many tourist around in Jerusalem, and the ones that come to visit it, come in organised excursions, they can be a little more pushing than before in order to get any clients.
Remember that in all the religious places you need to have covered your arms and legs, specially if you are women... (well seems men legs are not so dangerous lol)
It is believed that this church is built at the place of Christ’s Crucifixion, burial and Resurrection. The first church was built by the Roman emperor Constantine but it was rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Constantine Monomachus. The building was enlarged by the Crusaders and it has survived fires and earthquakes.
Because of fights over ownership of the church among Armenians, Greeks, Copts, Roman Catholics, Ethiopians and Syrians, the church is unlocked each morning by a Muslim keyholder.
When you enter the Holy Sepulcher it's very dark. The first thing you will see is the slab of stone which is called the Stone of Unction. If you go to the your right and you will find a stairway to the Calvary, It is in the rockface against which is a fixed huge steel cross. It's situated behind the spot where the wooden cross of Golgotha would have stood. The platform of Calvary is raised about 5 m above the floor, it contains the last four stations. it is divided into two chapels, Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic. The 10th and 11th stations are where Jesus was nailed to the cross and they are in the Latin chapel.
If you go left from the Stone of Unction you find Christ's Tomb. NO PICTURES ARE ALLOWED. You may enter it, but it only holds about 5 people at a time. This is a very sacred place for Christians as many believe this is the actual tomb.