Richard Nowitz

The holiest site of all Christianity, until the Crusaders arrived in Jerusalem, was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre—built by the emperor Constantine (306–337), supposedly over the tomb of Jesus. The Crusaders found the Byzantine church in sad disrepair, with very little of the original structure intact. So they erected a much larger cathedral, dedicated in 1149, on the earlier Byzantine foundations (the church’s Crusader-built main facade is shown here). In this and other churches, the Crusaders combined local materials and stone-cutting techniques with the Romanesque architecture they brought from Europe; the Romanesque elements are especially prominent in the church’s vaults, moderately pointed arches, cupolas and ornamented capitals (compare with photo of columns between the lower arches of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre’s main facade).