Old City & Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Western Wall, Church of Holy Sepulchre, Mt. Zion
Tour departs on: Mon
The tour begins by giving you an overview of the city; looking down on Jerusalem you can see beyond the Old City Walls to the Tempe Mount and the ancient roof tops with steeples, minarets and domes. It is a perfect place to get a shot of the iconic golden Dome of the Rock and the Old City. The tour continues through the Kidron Valley passed the Mount of Olives where you can get a view of the Church of All Nations, ancient Jewish tombs and the onion domes of the Russian Orthodox Church. Stopping at Mount Zion the tour takes you to the Room of the Last Supper. Here it is believed that Jesus dined with his disciples on the eve of his arrest. It is also thought that Jesus appeared here to his disciples after his ascension to heaven (Acts 1). The room has a groin-vaulted ceiling and elegant pillars with 12th century Gothic-style capitals. You can still see signs of the room’s time as a mosque during the Ottoman era when a mihrab (prayer alcove indicating the direction of Mecca) and stained glass windows with Arabic inscriptions were added.
The Room of the Last Supper is also called the Upper Room as it is on an upper floor above the Tomb of David. King David’s burial tomb is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. The tomb is mentioned in Acts 2:29 and historic documentation of David’s Tomb on Mount Zion was first made in the 9th century. At the Tomb of David you will see the large cenotaph covered with a cloth bearing embroider symbols related to David including his harp, crown and the words “King David of Israel Lives Forever.” Directly outside David’s Tomb you will pass by the Dormination Abbey and a statue depicting King David playing his harp. From here the tour takes you through Zion Gate and the Armenian Quarter; passed the Byzantine Cardo and Jewish Quarter where you will see the 2,000 year old Western Wall. The Western Wall was once part of the outer walls surrounding the Holy Jewish Tempe on Temple Mount and today is the holies Jewish site in the word.
Following the Via Dolorosa we reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Holy Sepulchre was constructed in 330AD to mark the site of the last four Stations of the Cross where Jesus was nailed to the cross, crucified, taken down from the cross and laid to rest in a tomb where he was later resurrected. Today the church is shared by the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Egyptian Copts, Syriacs and Ethiopian churches.
The tour takes you into this cavernous and ornate church where you can climb a stairway to Calvary, the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. You will also see the Stone of Anointing where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial. Here there is a Byzantine-style mosaic depicting the events of Jesus’ passion. A highlight of the tour is entering the Chapel of the Angel and burial chamber. You will see the many small chapels lit by burning candles, smell the aroma of incense in the air and see priests from different denominations in traditional religious garb. Visit the Syrian Orthodox Chapel; burial tombs and the Church of St. Helen dedicated to the mother of Emperor Constantine responsible for the construction of the church in 330AD.
- This tour includes a reasonable amount of walking; comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
- Modest dress is obligatory for visits to holy sites; covered knees and shoulders.
- This tour operates with a minimum of 4 participants.