Hershel Shanks

Through the facade of the Crusader church, modern pilgrims enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Crusader church was built in the 12th century on the site of the fourth-century Holy Garden, in which stood the rock of Golgotha. The Crusader church enclosed the rock within a building for the first time. As you enter the church, the rotunda surrounding Jesus’ tomb is on the left. Originally built around the tomb in the fourth century, the rotunda was included within the Crusader church and indeed is its focal point. Turning to the right within the Crusader church, you find a set of steps at its eastern end leading down to St. Helena’s chapel where, according to tradition, she found the true cross.

The square tower at the left of the facade is a Crusader bell tower. At the corner where the facade meets the square tower, the beginning of another decorative carved stone arch, identical to those above the two facade windows, springs to the left toward a window that no longer exists.