The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City sits on what is thought to be the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Christianity’s holiest site, the church stands at the end of the Via Dolorosa—the route Jesus is believed to have taken on the way to his crucifixion.
Commissioned in the 4th century and restored many times since, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre mixes medieval and modern architectural styles and is primarily controlled by the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Roman Catholic churches. Visit to see holy sites like the Rock of Calvary (the reputed place of Jesus’ death) and what is believed to be Jesus’ tomb.
Most travelers visit the church on a tour of Jerusalem’s Old City with a knowledgeable guide. Opt for a walking tour that includes other sites, like the Western Wall; a Christianity-focused tour that follows Jesus’ footsteps; or single- or multi-day tours that combine sites in Old Jerusalem with stops at other notable places, such as Bethlehem, Masada, and the Dead Sea.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Holy Sepulchre is an important place of worship for Christians; visitors should dress appropriately and maintain a respectful attitude.
- Admission to the church is free.
- Wheelchair-users can access the church’s main floor but not the Rock of Calvary.
How to Get There
The Holy Sepulchre stands between the Old City’s Souk Khan El-Zeit and Christian Quarter Road and is only accessible on foot. The quickest way there is through the Damascus Gate: Head southeast, toward Al G’absha, along Beit HaBad, and turn right onto Shuk Hatsaba’im before continuing to St. Helena Street, where the church stands.
When to Get There
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is open from early morning until late evening every day. Hours vary seasonally, and the church opens later on Sundays. The site is always crowded, and lines can be long during the peak tourist season and religious holidays (especially Easter). To beat the worst crowds, visit as close to opening time as possible.
Walking the Via Dolorosa
The Holy Sepulchre houses the last five of the 14 Stations of the Cross—specific locations along the Via Dolorosa, the path thought to have been walked by Jesus on his way to crucifiction. Many travelers walk the Via Dolorosa before visiting the church: The route starts at Jerusalem’s Lions’ Gate and continues to stations marking the spots where Jesus was reputedly sentenced by Pontius Pilate and where he stumbled under the cross’ weight.