Jesus of Nazareth is perhaps the most influential individual in Human history. And to a great degree it’s so because of what he encountered in Jerusalem. From his arrival at the Mount of Olives, to his death at the Golgotha, these events proved to change world history. The fall of Roman Empire, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, just to name a few.
This specially crafted tour will follow specific sites in Jerusalem, that relate to Jesus’s trial, death, burial and resurrection. We will examine, in detail, the historical documents and archaeological finds that relate to these occurrences and assess the realia behind these famous events.
This tour is a unique experience for any Christian or any person wanting to expand their knowledge on Christian history and archaeology.
Seeking the Site of the Trial of Jesus
The trial of Jesus took place in a public building in Jerusalem, which all the gospels label as Praetorium. The term Praetorium is generic. Unfortunately, this building is not mentioned in any other contemporary historical documents. It was the name of the General’s tent in the Roman army, and often used to label the Roman headquarters in cities across the provinces.
Local tradition says the trial of Jesus was held in a fortress built by King Herod and called Antonia. Foundations of Antonia were discovered in the 19th century, north of the Temple Mount. Furthermore, a large paved courtyard was found in front of it. It is assumed that this is where Jesus was presented to the public, and after condemned. From here, he was directed to the site of his execution, the Golgotha.
Walking Along the Stations of the Cross
From the place of his trial the site of his execution, the trail Jesus walked is now known as Via Dolorosa or Via Crucis (English for “the Stations of the Cross”). Many Catholic groups walk along this path, chanting hymns of Christian veneration. Some even carry a big wooden cross, affiliating in spirit with the passion of Christ. Moreover, every Friday the Franciscans lead a procession along what’s now regarded as a holy road. The Catholic church developed a belief of 14 different events along the Via Dolorosa. Each one is marked by a sign on the street, and some bear a small chapel for prayer and contemplation.
Exploring the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The culmination of any Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land is undoubtedly the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, this centuries-old church was built to mark and sanctify the Tomb of Jesus, and the site of his crucifixion, the Golgotha. Attracting thousands of visitors, on a daily basis, it can get crowded at times. People from all over the world wish to visit and touch the hill of crucifixion and enter the empty tomb. “Christ is risen!” is a common call here, in many languages.
In this tour, we will focus on the history and unique architecture of this fascinating building and address the question of its authenticity. We will thoroughly examine the archaeological evidence, the various traditions, and draw conclusions.