Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa

The path in old Jerusalem that Jesus took between his condemnation by Pilate and his crucifixion and burial

Church of the Holy Sepulchure

The holiest place on earth for Christianity, the church contains two of the holiest sites: the site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and Jesus's empty tomb, where he is said to have been buried and resurrected. These are the final four stations in Via Dolorosa.

The Roman emperor Constantine I, a convert to Christianity, demolished the temple of Venus in Jerusalem to make way for a church. In the course of the demolition a tomb was discovered that was thought to be the tomb of Jesus.

The Status Quo

Ownership of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is shared between the Greek Orthodox, Catholics (Latins) and Armenian Orthodox along with other denominations with minor rights. The rights of possession and use are spelt out by a decree, called the Status Quo, originally imposed by the Ottomans in 1757. The now permanent status of property and regulation extends to the ‘immovable ladder’ which remains in place only to be replaced once it falls apart . Two Muslim families have the sole right to hold the key and open and close the church — a tradition that dates back to 1246.

The Israeli closure policy is imposed on the Palestinian population as a whole. As a result of this, most of the younger generation of Palestinians in the West Bank have never had the privilege of visiting Jerusalem.