Church of the Holy Sepulchre

No pilgrimage would be complete without a visit to the tomb where Jesus' body was placed after His crucifixion. Visited by thousands of visitors each day, inside the sanctuary an area which commemorates Golgotha can also be found. Locals refer to the most holy of sites as the Church of the Resurrection.

Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth

The site of the Basilica in Nazareth is where tradition has it that the Annunciation took place. On that day, the Angel Gabriel visited the Virgin Mary and announced that she would carry the Son of God. This basilica commemorating this key episode in the Bible was built in the 20th century. In the church pilgrims can discover a part of the house of Mary dug into the rocks. A little chapel can be found in the interior where pilgrims can gather.

Basilica of the Nativity

Built in the 4th century by the Roman emperor Constantine, the Basilica of the Nativity is one of the most important churches in the Holy Land. It houses the grotto of the Nativity, where the Virgin Mary gave birth. Every year, 2 million pilgrims visit the grotto, found in the crypt of the church, marked by a 14-pointed silver star. A hole allows pilgrims to bend down and kiss the original rock. Close by is the manger where Jesus was laid down, today an altar.

The Garden of Gethsemane

Pilgrims can visit the garden on the Mount of Olives which is thought to be in the area where Jesus experienced His agony in the garden, and where He was arrested the night before His crucifixion. Although the exact site is not mentioned in the Gospels, Luke did place the event near this mount. The olive trees that grow in the garden today are a reminder of the agony felt by Jesus that night.

 

Wedding Church at Cana

Near Nazareth, the town of Kafr Kanna is, according to tradition, where the wedding took place where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine. There are two churches on the site, one Franciscan and one Orthodox. The beautiful Orthodox church has some earthenware jars in the crypt which are a reminder of the miracle. Couples can still marry there today.

Monastery of the Temptation

On a steep cliff in Jericho you can discover the spectacular monastery of the Temptation, built in the 19th century by the Greek orthodox. It's where cenobites from the earliest centuries would gather in the grottoes to mark the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, where He was tested by hunger and the temptations of the devil.

The pools of Bethesda

In Jerusalem, near the Lions' Gate, you can come across the compound of the White Fathers with the pools of Bethesda inside, where Jesus healed a paralyzed man. People would go there to be healed, enabling them to enter the Temple of Jerusalem where they'd previously been denied admission. In the crypt of the current church lies the birthplace of the Virgin Mary.

The Church of the Primacy of St. Peter

Again on Lake Tiberius pilgrims can come across the site where Jesus proclaimed to Simon Peter: "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church." A church built in 1933 commemorates the occasion, incorporating elements of a church dating back to the 4th century.

Church of the Beatitudes

Near Tabgha, on top of a hill overlooking Lake Tiberias, pilgrims can visit the beautiful site where Jesus is believed to have proclaimed the Beatitudes. A church on the site, built in 1937, has a different beatitude on each wall.

The Cenacle

Reported as an Upper Room in the Acts of the Apostles, it is the first Christian church located in the south of Jerusalem. It was the location of the Last Supper, the washing of the feet, and Pentecost. Franciscans built the current building in the 14th century on top of ancient Byzantine ruins.

 

Church of the Transfiguration

On Mount Tabor, the spot where the disciples witnessed Jesus transfigured and speaking with Moses and Elijah in all His glory, stands a church completed by Franciscans in 1924. Pilgrims can reach the church along a winding path to the monastery, which was built on the ruins of an ancient Byzantine church.

Via Dolorosa

For those pilgrims wanting to follow in Christ's final steps, this old road that starts near the Lion's Gate makes its way to Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. Along the route are the Stations of the Cross, with the final five found inside Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the tomb of Jesus can be found.