Monastery of the Cross, Jerusalem

The Monastery of the Cross is a solitary Byzantine monastery located outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Its name is based on the tradition that it stands where the tree grew that was used to make Christ's cross.

There was a Christian church on this site in the 5th century, but it was destroyed by the Persians in 614 AD (you can see part of the original mosaic floor next to the main altar in the present church).

The Monastery of the Cross that stands today was built in the 11th century by Orthodox monks from Mount Athos and financed with help from the King of Georgia. Its high, fortress-like walls reflect its precarious position outside the city walls.

By the 14th century, the monastery had become the center of the Georgian community in Jerusalem. By 1685, however, the monastery had been taken over by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

The simple dome is one of the church's most beautiful features. Also worth seeing are the frescoes, which were repainted in the 17th century based on 13th century originals and show an usual combination of Christian, pagan, and worldly images. The monastery's refectory and kitchen provide a glimpse into monastic life. A small museum displays the monastery's treasures.

The monastery remains active today, but visitors are permitted to wander freely around the monastery complex.


Quick Facts on Monastery of the Cross

Site Information
Names:Monastery of the Cross
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:31.772068° N, 35.208070° E
Lodging:View hotels near Monastery of the Cross
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Eyewitness Travel Guide to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, 1st ed
  3. Monastery of the Cross - leffe3's Jerusalem Page, Virtual Tourist

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