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Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a holy city for the three monotheistic religions. Through the centuries, Christians, Muslims and Jews have traveled from all over the world to worship at its holy sites within the old walled city, which are near to each other.

For pilgrimage, Christians come to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built by Emperor Constantine’s mother Helena, who did so after she found the ‘true Cross’ in a cistern nearby.

Originally the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was damaged and rebuilt, modified and restored many times over the years. Originally, two adjacent churches were on that location, marking the location of Jesus’ crucifixion (Golgotha) and the burial place (Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb). Later, the two churches were combined under one roof during the Crusader period and are now what we have today as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

In Jerusalem other significant sites exist. One is the Antonia, which is the fort that was built by Herod and served at the time of Jesus as headquarters of the Romans Military. It is believed that it is there where Jesus was taken and tried in front of Pontius Pilate, condemned and sentenced to crucifixion. The narrow streets leading from the Antonia to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the Via Dolorosa (Latin for ‘Way of Sorrow’), the fourteen-station route that Jesus walked carrying the Cross to the location of the Golgotha.

The Pool of Beth-zatha also called Bethseda or Bethsaida is a pool with five porticoes located near Lion’s gate where Jesus healed a man who was ill for thirty-eight years to walk and get into the pool. Another pool was discovered among the ruins of the church of St. Anne which was built by the Crusaders.

The Byzantine Emperor Justinian built a major church in what now is the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem, called the New Church of Saint Mary Mother of God (Nea Church). NEA means New in Greek. Most probably it was Justinian who connected the Nea Church to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by extending the main Jerusalem street to do so.

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Jerusalem
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