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Tomb of the Virgin, Jerusalem, Israel

At the base of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is a Crusader church said to mark the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Centered around a quarried-out tomb that may well date from the first century, the cave church is festooned with hanging lamps and highly atmospheric.

The New Testament says nothing about the death and burial of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, but a strong Christian tradition places her tomb in a dimly-lit church at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The large crypt containing the empty tomb in the Church of the Assumption is all that remains of an early 5th-century church, making it possibly the oldest near-complete religious building in Jerusalem.

The location of the Tomb of Mary is across the Kidron Valley from St Stephen’s Gate in the Old City walls of Jerusalem, just before Gethsemane. The Church of the Assumption stands partly below the level of the main Jerusalem-Jericho road. It is reached by a stairway leading down to an open courtyard.

Entry is through the façade of a 12th-century Crusader basilica that has been preserved intact. To the right, a passageway leads to the Grotto of Gethsemane

Visit Israel. Epic Israel Adventure route © Monika & Simon Newbound. All rights reserved 2017

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