There are many incredible things to do in Jerusalem. This is one of the holiest cities in the world and the meeting point of the three most important monotheistic religions. There’s no doubt that the most popular attractions are the iconic ones that are regularly photographed, such as of the Old City, including the Western Wall, Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock. My name is Clara Vinger I am tourism guide for 25 years and today I will help you navigate the labyrinth of medieval alleyways connecting the Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Armenian quarters, each with its own set of sacred sites, residential districts, and bazaars.
Today we will enter together in Jerusalem via the Jaffa Gate, the same place where pilgrims have entered for thousands of years and I will take you to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Compared to the rest of places to visit in JERUSALEM, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher can almost be overlooked if you don’t know it is there.
This is the most sacred site in the world for millions of Christians.
The Jaffa Gate Jerusalem Journey
During its early days in the Byzantine era, it was larger and known as “The Resurrection Church”, commemorating Jesus’ rise from the dead. During the 13th century, the responsibility for opening the church and keeping the church’s keys was given to two Muslim families, and they are still, to this day, responsible for the church’s keys and its opening at dawn and closure at sunset.
From the entrance, we will begin our tour by taking the steps that lead down the north side to the Greek Orthodox Chapel of Adam. The chapel gets its name from the legend that Adam’s skull was found under the Cross at Christ’s crucifixion.
On either side of the entrance are stone benches marking the site of the tombs of the first two rulers of the Crusader kingdom, Godfrey of Bouillon and Baldwin I.
Heading west, we will pass the Stone of Unction on which Christ’s body was said to be laid and anointed after his crucifixion, and the Armenian-controlled Place of the Three Mary’s where holy women watched the anointing. From here, we will arrive at the Rotunda containing the Holy Sepulcher (Christ’s tomb).
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Stone of Unction
This if the site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER, ALSO CALLED HOLY SEPULCHER CHURCH BUILT ON THE TRADITIONAL SITE OF JESUS CRUCIFIXION AND BURIAL during the 4th century by the Emperor Constantine, who accepted Christianity and made it the official religion of the Roman Empire.
The structure of the tomb conceals the natural rock, which can only be seen in the Coptic Chapel to the rear of the Sepulcher.
On the south, west, and north sides of the Rotunda are semicircular conches.
In the west conch, opposite the Coptic Chapel, is a Chapel of the Syrian Christians (Jacobite’s). In here, on the left, is the entrance to a rock-cut tomb. It is traditionally ascribed to Joseph of Arimathea, who also provided the tomb for Christ. It is still in its original condition, without marble cladding.
The northern part of the Rotunda belongs to the Latins. The major point of interest here is the Chapel of the Franciscans, whose friary is immediately adjoining, and the Altar of Mary Magdalene.
In the northern aisle are a number of columns of different periods, including richly decorated Corinthian columns from the original 4th-century church. These are known as the Arches of the Virgin,
Smyrna Greek called Kalfa Komnenos after the 1808 fire and has a Turkish Rococo style. In front of the entrance are huge candelabra, and over the doorway hang 43 lamps (13 each belonging to the Greek, Latin, and Armenian churches, while four belong to the Copts) because the risen Christ is said to have appeared to his mother here. At the east end of the aisle is a small square chamber known without any historical basis as the Prison of Christ.
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HOPE YOU ENJOY THE VISIT
SEE YOU SOON
MY SECRET FOR YOU: While most tourists line to visit the holy sepulcher inside the church, go to the door on its right that leads to an almost forgotten small chapel. It’s similar to a small cave, and a tiny opening lead to a place where two tombs seem to have been excavated. You will need a torch to see them