If there is one story known to the world about Christianity, it probably the story of Jesus crucifixion, died on the cross, buried, and risen. All these events happened in one place in Jerusalem which is called The Old City. From the previous posts exploring Western Wall, Temple Mount, and Via Dolorosa, now this post is when I visit The Garden Tomb Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Old City is truly one remarkable place as a city, an area that has a lot of stories to cover. Too many places with too many stories to be written in a single blog post. That’s why I break it down to a couple posts.
The Via Dolorosa Story
If you haven’t already, I did cover The Via Dolorosa when I explore and had a little ‘tour’ from the streets. The one thing that is a must-do for Christian pilgrims when they visit Jerusalem. Going through the stations of Via Dolorosa in the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem is charming and confusing.
Despite being the area of conflict between two states and religions, the streets become the best when it comes to storytelling. The experience that I had, the views that I saw, the streets that I walked, all given me mixed feelings about Jerusalem Old City. Amazed, confused, sad, happy, surprised, creepy, vulnerable, and on and on….
I did my best at sharing a story with photography. That’s why I would refer you to my previous post walking through The Via Dolorosa streets so that you get the idea what it looks like.
Now, to continue where we left off from the last post. After we’re done with the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, we’re leaving the site and head to our next stop, the Garden Tomb Jerusalem.
We’re passing a lot of street vendors selling many kinds of foods, drinks, and souvenirs for tourists. The Arab bazaar, that’s what they labeled it, seems really attractive for a lot of visitors. Their fruits, though, makes your mouth goes watery. We bought some fruits just to had a glimpse of what the middle east fruits taste like. It’s unbelievably delicious.
A Little Bit of History About Damascus Gate
You probably wonder with the name, Damascus. Isn’t it the capital city of Syria? Yes, it is, in time past, this gate which located on the city’s northwest side leads out to Nablus, and from there to the capital of Syria, Damascus.
Damascus Gate has been gone through more than one construction. The current structure was built in 1537 by the Sultan of the Ottoman empire, Suleiman The Great. Beneath the current structure, the remains of the old gate can be seen. Something from the 2nd century CE.
If you have time to explore some more before going out from this Damascus Gate, please do. I feel such a waste when I visited to not be able to take my time looking what’s around. It’s such a busy place with a lot of noise, activity, and people. One amazing place to do some photoshoot. 🙂
Damascus Gate is flanked by two towers. Such a busy place because it is located at the edge of the Arab bazaar and marketplace. In contrast to the Jaffa Gate, where stairs rise towards the gate, in the Damascus Gate, the stairs descend towards the gate.
Where Beauty Meet With Tragedy
Damascus Gate has become such a well-known hot spot for a terror attack. Not a day has gone without something violent happen either it’s successful or aborted. It’s like a boiling point for such events.
The shocking news of an attack happened on October 1, 2015. Just a couple months after we’re visiting, three Palestinian men attacked Israeli border police with automatic rifles, knives, and pipe bombs. Ended up with killing one police and all three shot at sight.
I got one comment on my Instagram post about Damascus Gate, “Damascus Gate is actually in OPT”. That’s when I find out what happened.
Walking To The Garden Tomb Jerusalem
We’re walking down the street of Derech Shchem towards the location of The Garden Tomb Jerusalem. It’s about 10 minutes of walking before finally making a left turn to Conrad Schick street.
The Garden Tomb Jerusalem itself is under a dispute whether it’s the real location where Jesus was buried or not. Like I said way earlier, many sites that I visited in Israel is actually a dispute in location. All of them can only have a disclaimer that it is “the best possible location”.
The traditional site of the death and resurrection of Christ are believed to have occurred at The Church of The Holy Sepulchre, where we were before. This Garden Tomb of Jerusalem is a well-maintained garden that has been a place for Christians pilgrim to have a worship session and sometimes a holy communion since 1894.
The site is under the management of a non-denominational charitable trust based in the United Kingdom, named the Garden Tomb (Jerusalem) Association. It’s a very popular site of pilgrimage for Christians.
Why The Garden Tomb also considered the location where Jesus buried?
It’s written in the bible that Jesus crucified very near the city of Jerusalem, outside its walls. Therefore, many Christians from the medieval era felt uncomfortable with the location at The Church of The Holy Sepulchre. As it was located deep within the Jerusalem walls at their time.
That’s why many places had been put into consideration as the possible sites of the tomb of Christ. Too many possibilities and too hectic to address all those opinions, research, etc. Let’s just say this is the place. Although I would prefer the one at the Church of The Holy Sepulchre myself.
Inside The Garden Tomb Jerusalem
I couldn’t take many photos since I have to help to translate the guide from this Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Because they’re pretty much always busy and occupied, so it is recommended to book in advance if you want to have a session inside the tomb.
Thanks to Mr. Dani, of course, he took care of the pre-booked session for us. We’re having a great time enjoying this garden with worship session and holy communion. For the wine and the bread for communion, you need to ask for the Garden Tomb staff to prepare it for you.
Usually, we started near the entrance. One guide from the office will be with you and give a tour around the garden. Mostly a story about this place, the location dispute, the story of Jesus crucifixion, and a little bit of The Old City of Jerusalem.
Moving to a corner side of the garden where they have this viewing point for the Golgotha. A rock hill that looks like a skull, which believed to be the place where the execution of the crucifixion happened. This also comes with a lot of dispute.
In 1842, a German theologian and biblical scholar from Dresden named Otto Thenius was the first to publish a proposal that the rocky knoll north of Damascus Gate, which, as Thenius noticed, resembled a skull, was the biblical Golgotha. In Aramaic, Golgotha means skull.
There is a bus station now located just under the hill, as we can see from the viewing point. Here’s GIF to show you the surrounding.
The Tomb of Christ
Now to the main site, the burial site where Jesus body was laid inside a tomb that looks like a cave. Walking around the Garden Tomb Jerusalem is pretty nice actually. There’s a lot of sites to have a private session with your group. One place to another with enough distance so that one group won’t bother another group with noise.
According to the bible in John 19:41 (KJV), “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.”
That verse corresponding to the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, which its tomb is just a few yards away from its Golgotha. However, in the later 19th century, a few other tombs had also been found. Which then, leads to this place as seen from the picture above.
This particular tomb also has a stone groove running along the ground outside it, which argued to be a slot that once housed a stone, as it is written in the bible of a stone being rolled over the tomb entrance to close it.
The tomb is quite small, with a fence built inside. Behind the fence is where the body of Christ was once laid. With a red paint on the wall. The wooden door at the tomb has a sign written,
He is not here, for He is risen
Information About The Garden Tomb Jerusalem
Shortly after that visit, we ended our pilgrim tour with some shopping at their souvenir shop. Please note that they usually closed at lunch hour for a break. The Garden Tomb is open to visitors every day except Sunday between 8:30-12:00 and 14:00-17:30.
You only need to make a reservation if at least one of the following applies to you:
- Any group of 10 persons or more.
- Person or group accompanied by a licensed tour guide.
- Any person or group who would like to have a Communion service or prayer meeting in the Garden.
- Any person or group who would like to receive a tour of the Garden.
- Person or crew who would like to film in the Garden.
There is no charge for entrance, for a tour, or for Communion elements. They rely entirely on visitors’. donations. So make sure you donate some money for the maintenance.
The End of My Pilgrim Tour
After we finished with this Garden Tomb, we’re heading off to the border crossing to Jordan. We will spend our last night staying in Holiday Inn resort at the Dead Sea of Jordan side. Which is an amazing resort. Be patient, I will try my best to share it next post.
This pilgrimage experience for me personally is a lifetime experience. I don’t know how long these sites will last, but as long as there’s still time for you to go, then you should. Given the unstable situation of the Middle East.
I would rate the top three pilgrim sites in Israel from my journal. All three in ranking;
- The Old City of Jerusalem, that includes the Via Dolorosa, Temple Mount, and The Western Wall.
- The Mount Hermon, beautiful mountains with a very beautiful panorama view.
- The Sea of Galilee in Tiberias, where we had a session in the middle of the lake on a worship boat.
That’s everything I had for this post. I would like to hear a word or two from you, so leave some comments below. Subscribe to our mailing list and social media for some more stuff. Until next post, bye!
Here are some of my affiliate links. These links help you to get the best deal while making your traveling easier as well as helping me get a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me to keep traveling places while pursuing my dream.
- If you’re looking for flights to visit this place, click here.
- In Tiberias, we’re staying in Emily’s Inn, a great location.
- We’re staying at Ramada Hotel while in Jerusalem, check for best prices.
- Never forget travel insurance if you’re traveling. Learn more about how you can get insurance cover while traveling.
- Got a place to stay in Jerusalem? Check for the best deal here.
- Don’t forget to bring your camera, you can get the best camera suitable for your need.
- Check out my resources page to help you travel easier.
Here’s my itinerary for this day :