Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem -
- how to get and what to see

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Jerusalem is the holy city of three religions, and every religious confession in the city has its main sacred place. The Jews are the Wailing Wall , Muslims have the al-Aqsa Mosque, and Christians have the Holy Sepulcher. In this review we will talk about this Christian temple.

We will talk about the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as a tourist attraction, without going into religious details. Pilgrimage is a separate topic for conversation, and is still a tourist site.

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is located on the place where it was crucified and buried, and then Jesus Christ was resurrected. On the day of the Great Sabbath, on the eve of Easter, a special divine service is held here, and the Holy Fire is lit.

The last path of Christ (Via Dolorosa) contained 14 stops. The last five allegedly took place where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is now located. Here is the hill of Calvary, where Jesus was crucified on the cross. Here is the location of the tomb, where his body was buried.

Figures and facts

The Church of the Holy Sepulcher does not belong to any one Christian confession. Representatives of six churches: Greek-Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic, Catholic, Ethiopian and Syrian.

No one has the right to make any changes in the temple. A clear proof of this is the ladder at one of the windows on the facade (see photo ). It is called "The Real Staircase", and it serves as a symbol that none of the six churches can change something in the temple environment without the approval of the rest. This staircase stands here since the 18th century. Be sure to pay attention to it.

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

Is free.

Opening Hours

The temple opens at 4:30 in the morning, and closes at 19:30.

How much time to plan

If your goal - just look at everything interesting inside, then two hours is enough. The exception is only holidays, and especially Easter, when even the entrance is a huge queue. If you still want to pray or listen to the service, then decide for yourself how much extra time will be needed.

Dress code

Similar to the dress code in ordinary Orthodox churches. Women can enter the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in trousers, but most importantly - do not forget a headscarf.

What to look inside - Golgotha

Calvary is a hill on top of which Jesus Christ was crucified. Now the whole hill is already hidden behind the buildings of the temple, but a small section of its surface can be seen and even touched.

Immediately after entering the right there is a staircase leading up to the main altar at Calvary. Climbing the steps, tourists and pilgrims get to the supposed place where there was a cross on which Jesus was crucified.

There is an altar set up, in the background there is a cross with the image of Jesus (pictured left) - this is the alleged location of the cross. In the meter in front of the cross is the throne, and under it is located a hole. In this hole pilgrims thrust their hand to touch the stones of Calvary Hill.

Near the altar, you can put a candle for the rest, and near the left is an Orthodox chapel with a statue of Mary, where you can put candles for health.

Below - in the base of the hill is the limit of Adam (the chapel of Adam). Here behind the glass you can see the hill of Golgotha ​​itself. There is a legend that Noah took with him to the Ark the skull of Adam - the first man. Then Noah buried the skull in the hill of Calvary, thus foreshadowing the place of the future events of the New Testament.

What to watch - The Stone of Chrismation

It is located near the entrance (pictured right). It is a stone slab on which the body of Jesus was laid after being removed from the cross. It can be easily recognized, since there are a lot of people around him, rubbing his handkerchiefs or other pieces of matter.

The real Confirmation Stone exudes mira - a mixture of oils, and this is considered miraculous. For centuries, pilgrims used this miro to illuminate objects, and often tried to split pieces of stone. For this reason, the Chrismation Stone is now unavailable, it is covered with a granite slab on top.

Modern pilgrims illuminate objects, placing them already on this protective marble slab.

What to look for - Kuvuklia

It is a small chapel in the place where the tomb of Jesus was supposedly located (pictured below). It is here that during the Passover the Blessed Fire descends.

This is the most visited place in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a line is being built here. To get inside, get ready to stand in this queue for up to 30 minutes. Visitors are allowed inside by two people and only for a minute.

Inside there are two rooms. The first is called "The Limit of the Angel," here is a piece of stone that closed the entrance to the tomb of Christ. The second is called "The Sepulcher of the Lord" and there is a marble slab that covered the coffin. It is on this plate that the Holy Fire descends.

In the temple there are several other chapels, which belong to different denominations. They are also interesting to see.

A successful visit to the holy places of Jerusalem, and read our other articles on Israel ( links below ).

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