The era of Constantine

Constantine’s Basilica

In 324-325, Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem, at the request of Emperor Constantine, initiated the destruction of the pagan structures that had been constructed on Golgotha, in order to search for the empty tomb of Christ.

In an surprised tone, and contrary to all expectations, the historian Eusebius recounts the discovery of the “most holy of caves”, the one which had witnessed the resurrection of the Savior.
Following the discovery of the tomb and the rock knoll of the Golgotha, Constantine’s architects designed an imposing complex of structures to be used in specific religious contexts.


Constantine’s works, formally inaugurated on 13 September 335, significantly modified the geology of the area in order to construct an integrated system of structures, culminating in the Anastasis with Christ’s tomb at its center.


From the colonnaded Cardo Maximus steps were erected giving entry into the atrium where, through three doors, one entered the Martyrium Basilica. The Basilica must have been magnificent, with its five naves separated by columns and pillars supporting a gold coffered ceiling.


At the rear of the Basilica, through two door placed on either side of the apse, one entered the open courtyard surrounded on three sides by covered archways (or porticos), at the southeast corner of which, in its natural form, rose the rock of Golgotha.


From this courtyard (or Triportico) the imposing facade of the spectacular Anastasis mausoleum stood out: at the center of the immense semi-circular structure was the Edicule of the Tomb, encircled by columns and pillars forming a circular ambulatory with a gallery above. The Anastasis was crowned by a large dome having a circular opening, making it visible from throughout the city.


Finally, externally along the northern side of the Anastasis were areas designated for the Bishop and clergy of the Mother Church of Jerusalem.

Watch the video of 3d recostruction

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