place of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem Israel

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Garden Tomb

East Jerusalem

Away from the din of Derekh Shchem (Nablus) Rd is a tranquil patch of green, considered by its trustees to be the garden and sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea, and possibly the place where Jesus was resurrected. The claims are strongly disputed, but this walled and attractively landscaped space is more conducive to contemplation than the teeming Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site more widely believed to be that of the crucifixion. There are some interesting archaeological excavations here, too.

Biblical significance was first attached to this location by General Charles Gordon (aka Gordon of Khartoum) in 1883. Gordon did not 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, including a chamber sealed with a rolling stone, further strengthened his conviction that this was the true site.

Archaeologists have since challenged the theory by dating the tombs to the 7th to 5th centuries BCE, though believers counter that old tombs were often reused in the Holy Land. 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. The debate over the site's history leaves visitors unruffled, and you'll see large tour groups marching up Nablus Rd to explore it.

To get there from Sultan Suleiman St head north along Nablus Rd and turn right at Schick St, opposite the Arab bus station. The site is wheelchair accessible.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby East Jerusalem attractions

1. Zedekiah's Cave

0.17 MILES

A good chunk of the limestone used to build the city above came from this 9000-sq-metre underground cavern. Used on and off from the Second Temple period…

2. Damascus Gate

0.18 MILES

The sights and sounds of the Muslim Quarter intensify on the approach to Damascus Gate, on the northern wall of the Old City. The gate's triangular…

3. Museum on the Seam

0.22 MILES

Located on the 'seam' (border) between East and West Jerusalem, this gallery presents rotating contemporary art exhibitions, often exploring themes of…

4. Herod’s Gate

0.26 MILES

Rather plain (and much less crowded) than the other Old City gates, Herod's Gate stands just 100m east of the point at which the Crusaders breached the…

5. St George’s Cathedral

0.27 MILES

Named after the patron saint of England, who is traditionally believed to have been martyred in Palestine in the early 4th century, St George’s Cathedral…

6. Underground Prisoners Museum

0.27 MILES

Few travellers are aware of this fascinating museum about the struggle of the Jewish underground's efforts to oust the British and create Israel. It's…

7. 3rd Station, Via Dolorosa

0.33 MILES

On Al Wad St, just a few steps south of the Via Dolorosa, is the 3rd Station, where it is believed Jesus fell for the first time. The station is in the…

8. 4th Station, Via Dolorosa

0.33 MILES

The 4th Station along the Via Dolorosa marks the spot where Jesus is said to have faced his mother in the crowd of onlookers. It is an area of paving…