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Located at the start of the “Stations of the Cross” (Via Dolorosa) in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, the new Terra Sancta Museum exhibits the Franciscan collection’s archaeological highlights.

The Franciscans and the Holy Land

The Franciscan order was established in 1209 to adhere to the teaching of its founder, Saint Francis of Assisi. In 1217, the first Franciscan monks arrived in the port of Akko. By 1342, the Pope declared the Franciscans to be the official custodians of the Holy Places. The Franciscans purchased and developed various Christian sites across the Holy Land in the following centuries. In 1924, the Franciscans formed a school for Biblical studies (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum), and in 1933, they conducted the first archaeological dig, exposing the Byzantine churches on Mount Nebo. Over the years, the Franciscans dug at various additional sites and formed a collection of antiquities relating to Christian history. Terra Sancta Museum exhibiting the highlights of those excavations.

The Three Wings of the Terra Sancta Museum

Set within the Catholic compound of the Via Dolorosa‘s second station, the Terra Sancta museum is comprised of three sections:

  • A 15-minute audio-visual presentation of the history of Jerusalem projected over archaeological finds.
  • A new display of the highlights of the Franciscan archaeological collection.
  • Highlights of the Franciscan Christian artistic collection. Its most memorable items are gifts of Europe’s royalty to the order.

Touring the Terra Sancta Museum

The Museum is in the Franciscan compound of the Via Dolorosa’s 2nd station. It is open every day of the week and has a humble entry fee.

A tour of the Terra Sancta Museum can be combined with a guided day tour of Jerusalem.

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