Terra Sancta Museum opens in Jerusalem, showing the Holy Land’s Christian roots

The first section of the museum dedicated to the Christian presence in the Holy Land is set to open to the public on 17 March. It ties together different aspects – history, archaeology, multimedia – to give tourists and pilgrims a taste of the city’s history. The exhibit will be open to everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – On 17 March, the first section of the Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem will open to the public inside the Monastery of the Flagellation.

The event is unique because this is the first museum dedicated to Christianity in the Holy City, tying together different aspects – history, archaeology, multimedia – of an otherwise forgotten or marginalised reality.

For its creators, it will help visitors experience the moments that have defined the history of Jerusalem at the heart of Christianity.

The new multimedia section will be called Via Dolorosa, named after the path that the centuries-old tradition identifies as Jesus' Way of the Cross on the way up to Calvary.

Generations of pilgrims have walked it, and for the first time, this 15-minute show will help visitors come to a better understanding of this spiritually significant place. 

The exhibit is located at the convent of the Flagellation, the location of Jesus’ condemnation (the second station on the Via Dolorosa), an important archaeological site.

A video is projected on the inside of one of the oldest rooms, among the archaeological findings- stones, artefacts and relics, which suddenly seem to come back to life . . . from Herod’s to Hadrian’s era, from Our Lord’s condemnation to his passion, from pilgrims from past centuries to today’s visitors to Israel and Palestine in the footsteps of the Lord.

The Terra Sancta Museum - Via Dolorosa uses a huge map of Jerusalem hanging from the ceiling which will be the screen onto which the voyage through time will be projected, ending with the prayers of the ancient pilgrims (in eight languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Hebrew).

Last year, the Custos of the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa laid the first stone. This year, one part of the museum is becoming a reality. Two more sections are expected. One is archaeological in nature, hosted at the Convent of the Flagellation; the other will be historical in nature at another significant place for the Franciscan presence in the Holy Land: Holy Saviour’s Convent. They will both open in the coming years.

For those who spearheaded the project, the purpose of this museum is to strengthen the close relationship that Christians have with this land, and to bring out the underlying reasons for their trip, or better, pilgrimage, to Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

They hope that helping Christians rediscover these roots can assist in fostering dialogue with other cultures and religions. For this reason, the museum is open to everyone: Christians, Muslims, Jews and believers of other religions.

The Franciscans of the Custos of the Holy Land are the museum’s primary sponsor, in collaboration with the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum and the Pro-Terra Sancta Association.

Franciscan friars partially provided archaeological collections as well as historical and instructional support for the exhibit’s content.