For many Christians who desire to be where all the action is on Easter, there’s no better place than Jerusalem.
Many people around the world flock there each Easter to try and relive firsthand the events written about in the Bible on what is the most important week and day on the Christian calendar.
It’s not the easiest trip to take because of the long journey and the time needed to explore, so it’s a trek that takes some planning ahead.
In other words, if you want to go in Easter 2023 or even 2024, start figuring it out now.
But take it from this author who has been twice: It’s SO worth it.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience (or in my case, twice in a lifetime) that will make your jaw drop and make scriptures come alive in your heart and mind forever.
What’s so great too about Jerusalem is, it’s also the holiest city for Muslims and Jews, which makes it the de facto “religious capital of the world.”
That diversity can lead to a lot of friendly interaction and conversations between people of different religious backgrounds.
In fact, there are four quarters to Jerusalem, Armenian, Christian, Jewish and Muslim.
But for Easter specifically, here are five places to check out in Jerusalem for Holy Week, from the experiences of this author.
1. Mount of Olives
Perched high over Jerusalem with a picturesque view of the city and sites below, this is where the Bible said that Jesus began his journey into Jerusalem before his arrest and crucifixion.
You can get a great view of the Dome of the Rock, the Islamic shrine, as well as the Western or Wailing Wall, the holiest site for Jews.
Tourists love to start above and snap pictures of the view and then walk down the path toward the city.
The best part about the walk toward the city is that it’s all downhill!
2. Garden of Gethsemane
Located on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane is a fenced-in area filled with olive trees that was where Jesus was arrested at night, according to scripture.
Tourists have to stay outside the fence and not walk around inside the garden, but there are still plenty of opportunities for photos and reflection.
3. Via Dolorosa
This is a cobblestoned, winding, narrow path with several arches above that’s about 2,000 feet -- and represents the path Jesus walked on his way to be crucified. It’s marked by nine stations of the cross and is flooded with tourists, especially on Good Friday, when people carry crosses down the path to commemorate the crucifixion.
4. Garden Tomb
There is some debate among Christians as to the true site of the crucifixion and burial, the Garden Tomb or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Garden Tomb is an outdoor setting just outside the Old City walls that was discovered in 1867 by Israeli archeologist Gabriel Barkay.
In 1894, it was purchased by the Garden Tomb Association, a charitable trust based in the United Kingdom.
The area features a rock called Skull Hill, where the resemblance of a skull can be seen and fits the biblical reference that Jesus was crucified in “the place of the skull.”
There is also a tomb inside a rocky wall with a door that reads “He is not here for he is risen.”
For tourists, the area, which is manned mainly by volunteer guides from the United Kingdom, and its garden-like setting with plants and flowers, is an ideal spot for communion and devotionals.
5. Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The more traditionally known spot of Jesus’ crucifixion and tomb, this is a magnificent and historic structure that was built in the fourth century. It has the last four stations of the cross (the Via Dolorosa has the other nine), a spot it designates where Jesus was crucified and a tomb where Jesus laid until the resurrection to fit the description in the Bible.
There is also the stone of anointing, believed to be the spot where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial, and the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
The church also has a dome-shaped main altar that is 65 feet in diameter.
Have you ever been to Jerusalem? If so, what are your favorite spots? If not, what do you most want to see? Let us know in the comments below.