Holy Grave Replica in Görlitz

This monument in Görlitz is a replica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Located in the Nikolaivorstadt, it’s about a ten minute walk from the old town.

Georg Emmerich – Source: Unser Görlitz

The Heiliges Grab was built around 1500 by Georg Emmerich (1422-1507), the son of a wealthy merchant in Görlitz. When he was young he “fell in love” with a neighbor girl, Benigna Horschel, and got her pregnant. His parents forbid him to marry her and so he left for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1465 to seek absolution for his sins, leaving the poor girl and child behind. In Jerusalem he was admitted into the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a group whose principle mission is to reinforce the practice of Christian life and fidelity to the pope. Georg Emmerich returned to Görlitz in 1465, became mayor and set out to recreate the Holy Sepulchre in his city. Since the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem has seen a lot of changes over time, the replica in Görlitz is an opportunity to see it as it was then.

The Heiliges Grab is meant to be just one stop on the Stations of the Cross, the path that Jesus took. Every year on Good Friday there is a procession that follows this path. It starts at the Peterskirche, the beautiful church that dominates the Görlitz skyline on the Neiße.

Next you head west past the Nikolaiturm and the Jesus Bakery to Steinweg. Steinweg is one of the oldest and most beautiful streets in Görlitz.

Then you pass the Place of Remembrance of Jesus Christ’s way of suffering, which is a cross surrounded by bushes that badly need to be trimmed (I’m 5’3 and could barely see over them!).

Finally, you arrive at the Heiliges Grab. When you walk up the steps, the first thing you see is the Doppelkapelle, meant to replicate the double chapel on the hill of Golgatha.

The Adamskapelle is on the first floor. Inside you find a simple sandstone altar and a crack in the wall meant to reflect the crack in the rock in Jerusalem.

The Emmerich family crest is on the wall on the left.

Upstairs you find the second chapel, Golgathakapelle. Three holes on the ground are meant to remind one of the three crosses erected at Golgotha. Throughout the Heiliges Grab you see a lot of carvings and graffiti in the stones of the chapels. Some of these carvings are very old, dating back to the 1500s!

In front of the double chapel is the Salbhaus (house of anoinment). Behind the gate there is a sculpture called “Die Beweinung Jesu” (the lamentation of Christ).

Directly on the left when you enter the Heiliges Grab is a brick building that had an exhibit when I visited called “Kreuzigung” (crucifixion), containing paintings by artist Sven Schmidt from Gera.

Finally, in the back you see the Grabkapelle, which is divided into two rooms. A big stone in front of the entrance is meant to symbolize the stone that sealed the grave. Inside the first room, there’s a white angel carved from wood dating from the baroque period. The second room has an empty bench, symbolizing the empty grave.

The entire place overlooks the Ölberggarten, which symbolizes the Mount of Olives in Jersualem. If the weather is nice and you’d like to walk in the park, you will have to exit the Heiliges Grab, turn right and take a right on Friedhofstraße. Above the park is the crematorium for the city cemetery. A giant maple tree stands on the hill and symbolizes the olive tree on Calvary. Below, the Jüngerwiese (disciples’ meadow), is a symbol of the sleeping disciples. And finally, a brook in the park symbolizes the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem.

There’s a pretty rad playground in the Ölberggarten, so if you’ve just dragged your kids through the Holy Sepulchre, you might want to reward them by letting them play for a while.

If you want to take a pleasant stroll away from the old town and down one of the oldest and most beautiful streets in Görlitz, (Steinweg), or if you are interested in seeing a replica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem,  check out the Heiliges Grab while you’re in Görlitz! Be sure to check the visitor information before you go. When I visited in March 2017, the cost was €2.50 for entrance and €5.00 for a tour. They have printed information for you to read while you are inside, ask for one in English.