Of its many distinctive qualities, Jerusalem is perhaps most known for religious tolerance. Christianity, Judaism and Islam come together in the state capital, forming a unique mosaic of beliefs and religious practices.
Much like the other two monotheistic religions that call Jerusalem home, the Christian faith also holds a special significance to the city of Jerusalem. The churches and monasteries in the Old City of Jerusalem and the Christian Quarter in it, owned and run by a range of different denominations, mirror the importance of this city to the Christian world. These sites draw thousands of visitors to the Holy Land annually, who come from the world to visit these religious sites.
By and large Christian tourism in Jerusalem encompasses ten famous posts. Though these sites bear particular significance to specific Christian denominations (namely Catholic), they nonetheless serve the entire Christian faith.
The various chapels and monasteries are situated relatively close to one another, making commuting between them surprisingly simple. It is important to note that not all sites are easily reached on foot, but all are accessible by car or public transportation. When on a Bible Land tour to Israel, be sure to capitalize on the sites' close proximity to one another by visiting as many as you can.
Christian Site in Jerusalem - Counting Down the Churches
From the Garden Tomb, to the Condemnation Chapel and the Chapel of Flagellation, the city of Jerusalem is chock full of churches related to and depicting the life of Christ. Not to be forgotten is Mary's Tomb and the Grotto of the Apostles.
When on a Christian tour to Israel, be sure to make time for these sites.
Be sure to pay a visit to the Russian Orthodox Basilica of Saint Mary Magdalene (its grandeur is nothing short of spectacular), as well as the Sanctuary of Dominus Flevit - a church built in the spot where Jesus wept over the destruction of Jerusalem.
Finally, the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer is also well worth a visit with its beautiful bell tower.
Christian Sites in Jerusalem - Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Regarded by most Christians as one of the most important Christian sites in Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is believed to be the site of the Golgotha ( Calvary) where Jesus was historically crucified. The place of Christ's Crucifixion marks the twelfth post on the famed Via Dolorosa.
Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre visitors will find the place where the Virgin Mary received her son's body. This spot, marking the thirteenth post on Christ's journey to his death, symbolically features a statue of Mary with a silver dagger wedged into her chest. Christ's tomb marks the fourteenth and last post on the Via Dolorosa, and features a massive marble structure believed to be Jesus' original tomb.
Entrance into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is free for Christians and non-Christians alike. It is open from dawn till dusk most days of the week and is a must-see destination for anyone on a tour to the Holy Land.
Christian Sites in Jerusalem - Church of St. John the Baptist
Situated in the beautiful Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem, the Church of St. John marks the exact birthplace of the scriptural Saint John, best known for baptizing Jesus upon his ordainment to Christianity.
The birth and life of Saint John the Baptist appear in the Gospel of Luke, where his family lineage and prophetic abilities are professed. It is in the Gospel of Luke that reference is made to John's birthplace in Jerusalem.
Nested in the hills of Ein Kerem, visitors to the church of St. John will also enjoy its picturesque surroundings. Ein Kerem is known for its charming winding streets, artisan stores and homely cafes. Two other churches are within walking distance of St. John's church, and are well worth a visit when on a Christian tour to Israel. These are the Church of the Visitation and the Monastery of Les Soeurs de Notre-Dame de Sion.
And Ein Kerem offer yet another important Christian site: Mary's Spring. This fresh water spring located on the outskirts of Ein Kerem is believed to be the place where Mary met Saint Elizabeth (wife of Zeharya and mother of Saint John the Baptist). In the past, Christian pilgrims would frequent the spring to drink from its blessed water, however in recent years the spring's water was declared contaminated by local authorities. However, Mary's Spring is still believed to have healing powers.
Christian Sites in Jerusalem - Church of All Nations
Sometimes referred to as the Basilica of Agony, the Church of All Nations is situated at the feet of the Mount of Olives. It is believed to be the place where Jesus was last seen praying before he was betrayed by Judas and captured by the Romans.
The Garden of Gethsemane adjacent to the Church of All Nation is a beautiful green spot, believed to have been a garden even in Biblical times. According to Christian belief, Christ and His disciples retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper. It is here that Christ gave his last sermon to his students.