Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The church is located in the center of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is the most venerated sanctuary in the Christian world and had been a place of attraction and pilgrimage for many centuries. According to Christian belief, the church is built above the empty grave of Christ. The place he was buried after his crucifixion, and where he came back to life before ascending to heaven. It is the physical point associated with Christ's transfiguration from human to divine.

The church was Emperor Constantine’s most important church foundation in the east. Its present form is the result of several major reconstructions and adaptations. It is an enormous and intricate structure that houses different Christian sects such as the Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, Franciscan, Ethiopian, Armenian and the Syrian Orthodox churches. The different communities still live according to the status quo defined by the Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Majid I in 1852. The church is full of hidden walls and spaces, many of which were discovered during the restoration in preparation for the millennial celebrations of at the end of 1999.

The building's early phase from the 4th century comprises of two main buildings connected and preceded by an atrium. The first was a basilica with a nave and two aisles along each side. The church's apse faced west, atypically for later basilicas. The second building was a domed rotunda, known as the Rotunda of the Anastasis (the resurrection), surrounding a small building (Edicule) over the tomb.

The church didn't suffer much destruction until the year of 1009, when it was almost entirely demolished under the orders of Caliph al-Hakim, the Fatimid ruler of Egypt at that time. This demolition was one of the reasons given for the initiation of the Crusades. Soon after the church was desecrated rebuilding was initiated under the authorization of the new Caliph. About 30 years later the Crusaders captured Jerusalem and the church was further restored and rebuilt and dedicated in 1149. In 1187, when Jerusalem surrendered to Saladin the church was left intact. The church suffered two further catastrophes, the first by fire and the next by earthquake at the beginning of the 19th century and 1927 respectively.