Russian Excavations

The Russians came to Jerusalem right after the Crimean war. They started monasteries, Churches and started to do archaeological diggings.

Schick was part of these projects, as the Ottoman representative in the city, as interested in Churches and archaeology.

It all started at the place of the Alexander Nevsky Church, located just east of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, next to the Lutheran Redeemer Church.

The site was acquired in 1859 AD by the Russian government. A Russian Palestinian Orthodox Association was established by Emperor Alexander III in 1882, and a number of excavations began in the site, also named the Russian Excavations. The project was financed by Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, Chairman of the Association and brother of Emperor Alexander III. The present building, which contains a modern church, offices, and archaeological artefacts found during excavations, was built later.

One question that interested Schick a lot was the finding of the ancient city wall of Jerusalem at the time of Christ. Since Christ was crucified outside the city wall, could then the Church of Holy Sepulchre be the right place? Different views in this question later led to the findings of the Garden Tomb – Gordon’s Calvary. While digging at this place, Schick changed his mind and accepted the Holy Sepulchre as the historical place of Christ’s death. He then joined the classical Catholic view and gave up his former idea that Gordons Calvary or his personal favorite a private garden north Holy Sepulchre was the right place.


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