Sharm El Sheikh

Tomb of Mary

The Tomb of the Virgin Mary is located at the foot of Mount of Olives. It has been built over the top of the Church of the Assumption. As per the Catholic doctrine, Mary was directly taken to heaven from that spot since she was a pure and sinless soul. According to the biblical accounts, there is no information about how Mother Mary’s life came to an end or how her burial had taken place. There are a number of places that have claimed its honor, and that includes Ephesus located in Turkey as well.

The church was first constructed at the time of the 15th century, immediately after Council of Chalcedon. Later on, a large church had been built in that place and it was finally destroyed before crusaders arrived at Jerusalem and captured it. The Crusader leader called Godfrey of Bouillon then built a beautiful monastery in that place called the Abbey of St. Mary of the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The Church was finally rebuilt in the year 1130. The Benedictines that were living in that monastery were then entrusted with care of new structure of the church.

As you step in to the place where the Tomb of the Virgin Mary lies, you would see steps deciding into the square courtyard that contains the upper church that was little more than a 1130 portal and that polished arch supporting on the 8 marble columns. As you get inside, 7 steps down the wide lies the 12th century stairs that comprises of 47 steps and leads to the tomb of the Queen of Melisande. The lower church lies at the base of the staircase. The area has been dimly lit and its walls have been blackened with centuries old smoke that gives the place an antique feel. The rooms are magnificently decorated with proper icons and hanging lanterns.

On the west, there is a well built apse and a long rock-cut type of apse on the east- here lies in the Tomb of the Virgin Mary. The Tomb of the Virgin Mary is basically an empty bench made from stone. On the western entrance side, there are 3 holes that have been cut into stone to allow visitors to touch the inner part of Tomb of the Virgin Mary. Residents and pilgrims from all over the world come here to light up the torch and to pray to Mother Mary at the Tomb of the Virgin Mary.

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