Karin is an award-winning writer, editor and publisher of Christian and secular works in Europe and the USA.
Probably one of the most peaceful and serene places on the planet that you will ever visit, the Garden Tomb touches something tangible and deeply spiritual within all of us. It is the place where spirit meets flesh and as you sit on the benches and soak in the atmosphere you cannot help but think that there is indeed something beyond this world and your mind begins to wonder and question - Could this indeed be where it all took place?
As you examine the rock horizontally from the tomb entrance, you see a huge crack that travels right along to the end and continues on the 'cliff like' rocks across the road at the junction, that over time has now become a bus depot. A tour guide who casually walks around, will point out that the 'crack' has been dated back to 2000 years ago, to around the time of Christ and that the 'bus depot' used to be the main central gathering place during this time in history. You may nod, not really grasping what was said as your attention is diverted to the right hand side of the garden and over the wall where the church of St. Stephen stands, the first Martyr who was stoned to death. You look up to the left and on top of the cliff with etched-like skull formations 'built' within it, you see 3 crosses.
Next, you turn about and the beautiful flowers and shrubs that bloom amongst the stone benches convince you that you could not possibly be near a grave, indeed the sign on the door sends a message to the world 'He is not here - for He is risen' cements itself in your mind...For a place so intrinsically linked with death, there seems to be nothing but life!
Whether the Garden Tomb is the actual place of the burial site and resurrection of Jesus Christ will always be debated, what we cannot argue is the fact that Israel just became personal to you and something wonderful just happened!
The Skull on the Rock
Where to Stay?
Jerusalem offers great hotels and hospitality, here are just a few I would recommend:
Note: Check each hotel site directly for Covid updates prior to booking...Avoid Holiday times i.e Yom Kippur, check the calendar before booking your holiday. Israel as a nation observes all her holidays and feasts and most of the shops and sites close down during these times.
- Dan Jerusalem Excellent facilities with everything you would expect from a 4* hotel and more. Dan Jerusalem is central and they have some great offers.
- Jerusalem Gate Hotel easily the best value and most central hotel in Jerusalem. There is a shopping mall, Synagogue and Mezzanine Bar.
- The Ibis Jerusalem is a beautiful Kosher hotel situated in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel. Free Wifi.
Here are some things you should remember:
- Book a package tour its the best way to go and is probably the best and safest, as well as Church group holidays.
- If visiting Holy sites within Israel you will sometimes be refused entry if wearing shorts or short skirts. Please check with travel guide regarding keeping the ankles covered, this goes for Christian and Muslim sites. My tip is if on tour always wear long pants or jeans you cannot go wrong!
- Try and book a hotel with half board, there is usually a buffet style breakfast and dinner.
- Drink plenty of BOTTLED water - it gets extremely hot in Israel and you can dehydrate very quickly especially in the summer.
- Beware of 'taxi tours' particularly one's that stop off at a Diamond Factory on the way to your hotel or destination - you will catch a cab and end up with a tour you did not ask for!
- Stick with reputed tours Egged Tours is the best.
- If you stay in Jerusalem city center (recommended) you can walk to most of the markets, old city and historic and Holy sites.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Karin McBride-Chenoweth
Liz Westwood from UK on September 21, 2021:
You have included useful tips and information in this interesting article. Visiting a diamond factory would definitely not be on my itinerary whilst visiting such a fascinating place.