Church of the Holy Sepulchre picture
Courtesy of www.goisrael.com

Key Info

Suq Khan e-Zeit and Christian Quarter Rd.

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Believed to stand directly above Jesus Christ's tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered one of the world's holiest Christian sites. Emperor Constantine originally built the church in 326 A.D. as a Byzantine place of worship. Since its formation, the Church has been destroyed twice, first by the Persians in 614 A.D. and then by the Egyptians in 1009. Today's church is a product of 12th-century Crusaders.

Travelers describe the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as nothing short of breathtaking. While the tomb of Jesus is the church's main attraction, and you will likely encounter long lines to enter the area. Many visitors say that the wait makes the church feel commercial rather than spiritual. One TripAdvisor user writes: "Obviously for Christians this is the most holy site. [But it] was a bit distracting because of the number of pilgrims and tourists taking pictures." 

Located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre welcomes visitors every day (hours may vary), and admission is free. You should dress modestly. You can learn more about the church here.

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#1 Old City

Chances are that you'll spend much of your time here. The Old City is home to many of Jerusalem's most sought-after attractions, including the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Temple Mount. Originally built by King David in 1004 B.C., the walled Old City comprises four distinct areas: the Jewish Quarter (or the Cardo), the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, and the Armenian Quarter. Each quarter exudes its own unique atmosphere, with religious sites, shops, and food offerings reflecting its respective heritage. Yet the Old City's winding alleyways and ancient stone plazas allow mixing and mingling among these cultures, making a very eclectic environment.

It's easy to lose yourself (both metaphorically and geographically) in the Old City, but make sure you devote some attention to its boundaries. You can access the Old City from seven entryways: the New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod's Gate, Lions' Gate, Dung Gate, Zion Gate, and Jaffa Gate. Each doorway marks a significant era of Jerusalem's history. For example, Jaffa Gate is where the Tower of David (the city's primary defense point) can be found.

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