Commissioned between 325-6 by Emperor Constantine I, and his mother, Saint Helena, the church was built on the former site of a temple dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and war; initial excavations for this construction, according to Helena, revealed the Holy Sepulchre, or the tomb of Jesus.
During a Muslim uprising in 1009, the church was razed to the ground, an act that provoked Europe to begin the Crusades. It was eventually rebuilt via collaboration between the Muslims and Byzantines, and additions were later made by Crusaders, Franciscan monks, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic elders. Fire damaged the church’s dome and other features in 1808, and archeological excavations throughout the 1970s revealed that the church’s site had, even before the temple of Aphrodite, been a limestone quarry.
The main features of the church include a stairway that climbs to the Golgotha, or rumored site of Jesus’ crucifixion; a rotunda containing the Holy Sepulchre; and the Greek Orthodox catholicon, the church’s main altar.
Tours & Tickets
Start the day with a magnificent panoramic view from atop of Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City and the Judean desert. Continue to visit Mount Zion where ... Read more
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)
Get inspired by Jerusalem and combine ancient history with spiritual sanctity in this half-day tour from Tel Aviv. Discover the quarters of the Old City by ... Read more
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)
A one day trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem from Tel Aviv, Hertzelia, Natanya, or Jerusalem. Tour the Old City, the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy ... Read more
Location: Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Duration: 10 hours (approx.)
Spend Christmas in the Holy Land. Experience Christmas Eve in Bethlehem, spend Christmas Day in Jerusalem and join the celebrations in the Church of the Holy ... Read more
Location: Herzliya, Israel
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)
Visit the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem on a full-day, private tour from Eilat. Enjoy the personalized experience and flexibility of a private tour that ... Read more
Location: Eilat, Israel
Duration: 16 hours (approx.)