Christian Sites in Jerusalem's Old City
Jerusalem's Old City, containing thousands of years of history and considered as the Holy City by Judaism, Islam and Christianity, is home to several major Holy Land attractions for Christian pilgrims, tourists, visitors and locals. These sites offer the most significant and memorable experiences while visiting the Holy City of Jerusalem.
The city where Jesus was crucified and resurrected, Jerusalem's Old City, as well as some sites just outside the city walls, offer some of the most important sites in Christianity. Millions of visitors flock to these sites every year, hoping to gain a glimpse of Christ's last footsteps, take part in important religious ceremonies or meditate on their own beliefs and personal development.
As singles or in large groups, these pilgrims fill the streets of the Christian Quarter, following in Jesus' footsteps along the Stations of the Cross, the final path taken by Jesus on his route to crucifixion and resurrection. Ending in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Way of Suffering (or Via Dolorosa) tells the story of Christ's acceptance of humanity's sins, taking it upon himself to die on the cross in order to relieve the suffering of others.
The church itself is a breathtaking ancient building, which is run in cooperation by several Christian churches. It contains many important areas, each with a story related to Jesus, a symbolic importance and a long history dating back hundreds and thousands of years. These include the Rock of the Calvary- the site of Jesus' crucifixion; the Stone of Anointing (Unction) - where Joseph of Arimathea prepared Christ's body for burial; the Rotunda- which contains the Edicule, the actual tomb of Jesus; the Greek Orthodox Catholicon, which is the main altar of the Holy Sepulchre Church; and many additional areas, each with a story and historic importance of its own.
Leaving the church, the Christian Quarter is filled with additional churches, some dating back thousands of years and each with its own unique story. These include the Church of John the Baptist; Church of the Savior; Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.
Heading just outside the Old City Walls, past the Temple Mount and the Western wall, the city of Jerusalem continues to unfold the story of Jesus Christ. Sites like the Garden Tomb, considered by some Christians to be the actual burial and resurrection site of Christ, provides an additional opportunity to offer prayers and meditate while in the city. The Garden of Gethsemane, located just below the Mount of Olives, is considered to be the place where Jesus spent his last night prior to crucifixion, weeping along with his disciples.
On Mount Zion, directly outside the Zion Gate, one can find the Last Supper Room and the Dormition Abbey, built to honor the Virgin Mary. The nearby Catholic and Protestant cemetery contain the graves of many important historic figures, whose stories are intertwined with the history of the city.
These sites, along with many other Christian religiously significant sites and points of historic interest, make every visit to Jerusalem into a revealing spiritual experience. Witnessing the story of Christianity and following Jesus' path, pilgrims can partake in a moving personal experience, whether visiting the city on their own or as part of a group.