"Religious scholars say the earliest followers of the new Jesus movement may have been praying here in A.D. 66. There is abundant evidence that Christian pilgrims have been making their way here since at least the 4th century.
The traditional tomb is now underneath a towering rotunda, cocooned in a small chapel called the Edicule, which according to tradition shelters the remains of the 1st-century burial cave the Bible says belonged to a prominent Jew — and a secret disciple of Jesus — who offered it to Christ.
Today, the site thrums with piety, but history knows it is soaked in blood. There have been at least four Christian chapels erected over the site. The first was by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, who swept aside a pagan temple Hadrian built to the goddess Aphrodite — perhaps a move by Rome to deny early Christians a place of pilgrimage. The Holy Sepulchre was saved by the Muslim conqueror Omar in 638; destroyed by the Egyptian Caliph al-Hakim in 1009; rebuilt by the Crusaders who themselves slaughtered half the city; protected again by the Muslim conqueror Saladin and laid waste again by the fearsome Khwarezmian Turks, whose horsemen rode into the church and lopped off the heads of praying monks." Washington Post
I have been to the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher a lot. In Arabic it is kaniisat al giyama. the Church of the Resurrection. The present building was constructed in the time of the Kingdom of Jerusalem by the first crusader kings. The first church there had been built by the Emperor Constantine after his conversion to Christianity. It was much larger. The Fatimid Caliph Hakiim the Mad tore down the Constantinian church and had what remained of the "rock cut tomb" demolished by men with sledgehammers. This was in 1009. His mother was Christian. I guess he did not like mummy. IMO the site is the actual place of the crucifixion and tomb. It was at the time outside the walls of Jerusalem in an old quarry with some knobby spurs in it in which the rock was not very good. There were Jewish tombs cut into various parts of the quarry and spurs. The Roman government liked to execute people by crucifixion in the quarry on the knobs of rock. One of these, cut down now to a shaft like structure is Golgotha. Under the altar up there is a silver door through which you can reach down and touch the rock on which Jesus was crucified. I have seen hard men who believed in nothing but their "own sharp swords" reduced to tears by the experience. The Greek patriarch is right. There is something there that cannot be named.
The tomb itself located inside the ridiculous Ottoman baroque "edicule" was also carved down to a house like structure by Constantine's people who built a structure over it. That covering structure has been several times replaced since then ending with the present dilapidated crumbling pile under the big dome of the basilica.
IMO they should tear down the edicule, tear it down to the floor, see what is left of the tomb and then build an appropriate structure over that. BTW I am a knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. A Franciscan of the Custody of the Holy Land (part of the Franciscan community) said to me once that he and his brothers have held this place for 700 years against the "day of your return." It was quite a moment.
I would guess that all that is left of the "rock cut tomb" is a stony ledge much scarred by Hakiim's sledgehammers, but we will see...
Oh, yes, Chinese Gordon and subsequent evangelical Christians assert that another place, next to the present Arab bus station is the actual site. I think not. Franciscan archaeologists have done a very thorough job over the centuries.
BTW the Israeli government does not contribute a shekel to conserving or maintaining the place. The Order of the Holy Sepulchre pays for everything in the building but in general lets the Greeks do the talking since it makes them easier to get along with.
PS Spare me the usual drivel about crusader cruelty. I will just delete it. Refuting ignorance is wearying.