Garden Tomb

sights / Parks & gardens

Garden Tomb information

Location
Jerusalem , Israel
Telephone
+972 2 627 2745
Getting there
Tram: Damascus Gate
More information
www.gardentomb.org
Opening hours
9am-noon & 2-5.30pm Mon-Sat
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A tranquil patch of green in the middle of East Jerusalem's mayhem, this site is considered by its trustees to be both the garden and sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea, and the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. While enjoying little support for their claims, the trustees have provided a walled and attractively landscaped space that is more conducive to contemplation than the alternative site said to be that of the crucifixion, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Biblical significance was first attached to this location by General Charles Gordon (of Khartoum fame) in 1883. Gordon refused to believe that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre could occupy the site of Calvary, and on identifying a skull-shaped hill just north of Damascus Gate he began excavations. The ancient tombs he discovered under the mound further strengthened his conviction that this was the true site.

Archaeologists have since scotched the theory by dating the tombs as being from the 5th century BCE. Several cynics suggest that the continued championing of the Garden Tomb has more to do with the fact that it’s the only holy site in Jerusalem that the Protestants, its owners, have any stake in.

To get there from Sultan Suleiman St head north along Derekh Shchem (Nablus) Rd and turn right at Schick St, opposite the bus station. The site is wheelchair accessible. Free guided tours are available in several languages, but reservations are required for any language other than English.