Click HERE for a virtual tour of Christ's burial place, now enclosed within this church. Full screen mode gives excellent views.
The edifice built over the Holy Sepulchre by Constantine was dedicated in 336. The Holy Sepulchre, separated by excavation from the mass of rock, and surmounted by a gilded dome, was in the center of a rotunda 65 feet in diameter. The basilica, extending eastward from this to a distance of 250 feet, embraced Calvary in its south aisle. An atrium and a propylaeum gave a total length of 475 feet.
The magnificent monument was destroyed by fire in 614, during the Persian invasion under Chosroes II. Two hundred years later new buildings were begun by the Abbot Modestus and finished, in 626, with the aid of the Patriarch of Alexandria, who had sent money and one thousand workmen to Jerusalem.
These buildings were destroyed by the muslims in 1010. Smaller churches were erected in 1048, and stood intact until the crusaders partly removed them and partly incorporated them in a magnificent basilica that was completed in 1168. As in the basilica of Constantine, so also in that of the crusaders, a rotunda at the western end rose over the Holy Sepulchre. This basilica was partially destroyed by fire in 1808, when the rotunda fell in upon the Sepulchre. A new church designed by the Greek architect, Commenes, and built at the expense of Greeks and Armenians, was dedicated in 1810. The dome of its rotunda was rebuilt in 1868, France, Russia, and Turkey defraying the expenses. In the middle of this rotunda is the Tomb of Christ, enclosed by the monument built in 1810 to replace the one destroyed then.
Excerpted from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07425a.htm
Tour of St. Paul-Outside-the Walls [ Burial Place of St. Paul], Vatican City
A 360 degree tour of the Basilica, including a view of the apostle's tomb.
Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican City
A spectacular view of the Sistine Chapel via Virtual Reality.
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