Travel tips you can trust
Holy Sepulchre Church
It is Christendom's holiest site. Within its building are what Christians believe to be the burial place of Jesus and the hill of the crucifixion (Calvary).
When to come
Unless you want to encounter thick crowds and hour-long wait lines to visit the burial site, come very early or very late in the day (especially in the summer tourism season). As a bonus, there is more of an aura of spirituality when visitors are few.
History in brief
Three centuries after Christ died, Byzantine Emperor Constantine commissioned the first Holy Sepulchre Church on the spot that his mother Helena said were the locations of the tomb and Calvary.
The church was completely destroyed by CalIph Hakim in the early 10th century. Later, the church went through various rebuildings. The last was in the early 1800s. Today, the structure is a hodgepodge of architectural styles and interior decors.
Although many texts use the term "tomb of Jesus", the venue is really just the place of burial. The tomb was demolished long ago.
The Holy Sepulchre Church is run today by no less than six Christian denominations, which sometimes creates administrative power struggles. Of these churches, the Greek Orthodox has the greatest sway.
Location in Israel
Top 2 Israel Wonders