The tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was said to be at risk of collapse
It’s the second coming of Jesus Christ’s tomb.
A shrine that Christians believe houses the penultimate resting place of Jesus will open to the public on Wednesday after a nine-month renovation that cost $4 million. According to experts, the tomb, which sits in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City, had been at risk of collapse.
The tomb was built over the cave that Jesus was said to have been buried in before his resurrection. The Guardian reported that the restoration process had been delayed because six Christian denominations oversee the site, leading to frequent disputes.
The tomb was last restored in 1810 after a fire two years before. Though there are often long lines of pilgrims waiting to visit, there has been scant maintenance over the past two years. The latest effort was undertaken by four dozen Greek conservators who had previously worked on the Acropolis of Athens, the ancient citadel that overlooks Greece’s capital. According to NPR, the most obvious change was the removal of a “hulking and unsightly iron cage” that surrounded the shrine in order to reinforce it.
The opening tomorrow will be attended by Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, and an emissary of Pope Francis. The different denominations chipped in for the renovation, as did King Abdullah of Jordan and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Israeli tourism leaders will hope this lures more visitors to Jerusalem. Hotel occupancy rates in Jerusalem dropped by 23% between the first quarter of 2014 and the equivalent period in 2016. Israel is still recovering from the decline in tourism following a war in the summer of 2014.
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