Tomb of Lazarus, Bethany
In the biblical village of Bethany, located on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives, lies the Tomb of Lazarus, an important site to visit on a tour of the Holy Land. This is the location where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, as recorded in the Gospel of John.
Visitors to the site today can climb down 24 uneven rock-cut steps and enter the antechamber of the tomb. This is where Jesus stood when he called Lazarus from the grave. A blocked entrance shows pilgrims where the original door to the tomb stood. The alignment of the tomb suggests the antiquity of the structure, clearly predating the church built over it in the sixth century. Another few steps take you to the tomb itself, which is only slightly larger than two square meters in size. Visitors will note that the tomb contains three funerary niches, mostly hidden by Crusader-period masonry.
The tomb of Lazarus is mentioned in ancient texts dating back to the fourth century. The first church at the site was built in the sixth century and survived intact until the Crusader period. During the Crusades, Queen Melisande acquired the village of Bethany and renovated the church, dedicating it to Mary and Martha. Melisande also built a Benedictine convent on the site. Both the church and the convent were eventually destroyed by the Mamluks, and they were replaced by a mosque.
Near the tomb are two churches, the Roman Catholic Church of St. Lazarus and the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Lazarus, as well as a mosque.