None of the faiths owns the keys to the temple. The keys are kept in an Arab Muslim family. Every day, a representative of the Nuseibe family opens the temple, and closes it every evening. The procedure for closing can be viewed by every tourist or pilgrim, and there is no opening procedure, as the door of the temple is opened first, and only then the outer gate of the courtyard.
The duty to follow the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was assigned to the Nuseibe family by the Arab caliph Omar, who conquered Jerusalem in 637. Since then only they have the right to open and close the main gate. However, the Nuseibe family does not own the keys, the storage is entrusted to another family, Judah, who was authorized by the Turkish sultan in the 16th century.
The order inside is followed by Muslim guards, who are called "kawasas". They are easy to recognize by the sticks with which they knock on the floor, and on the fez (in the photo on the left). The Muslims have been ordering the temple for 500 years, from the moment when Jerusalem became part of the Ottoman Empire (the Turks).
Such active participation of Muslims in the life of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is only for the better. They do not allow any Christian denomination to dominate.
In the list of denominations there is no Russian Orthodox Church, but services in Russian are held in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Russian priests use the rights and places of worship of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Protestant churches do not have access to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and they consider it a real place of burial and resurrection of Christ, another place - the Garden Grave in Jerusalem.
The first Christian church in this place was built in 335, since that time it was rebuilt many times. Very few items have been left here since the 4th century. 2000 years ago this place was located outside the city wall of the city of Jerusalem, but later the city grew and now the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is in the Christian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
How to get there
We need to get to the Old City, enter one of the gates and find the Christian quarter.
The easiest way to get there is by taxi, but an Israeli taxi is not cheap. In this case, ask to take to the New Gate, they are closest to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
The second option is the light metro in Jerusalem, although this type of transport is much more like an ordinary tram. Now there is only one branch in it, just do not get lost. The station "City Hall" is located next to the New Gates. The station "Damascus Gate" is located next to the Damascus Gate.
The third option is by bus. Bus 38 will take you to the Jewish Quarter. Buses 1, 2, 3 and 21 stop at the Damascus Gate. There are several bus routes that stop near the Old Town, but we can not vouch for them. You should ask about them at the reception of your hotel.
Who are allowed inside
In the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, access is open to all regardless of nationality and religion.
What's the cover charge
The temple opens at 4:30 in the morning, and closes at 19:30.