Religious Routes And Sites
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Rachel’s Tomb

For millennia Rachel’s tomb was a key landmark, heralding the northern entrance to the outskirts of Bethlehem. Jacob had erected a pillar over the grave of his wife Rachel, who had died giving birth to Benjamin. The site was later revered by Christians and Muslims as well as Jews. In 1560 a dome was constructed over the site, replacing Jacob’s pillar. In the 19th century, two rooms were added to the primitive square vestibule, thus giving the tomb the appearance it still maintains today. Later a vestibule with a mihrab (a praying niche) was added for Muslims, who also refer to the site as Masjid Bilal Ibn Rabah. Taamreh Bedouin had a burial ground here. For centuries the indigenous population, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew were allowed to worship here. Now the entire area is a military zone in front of which an enormous wall has been built and to which the local Palestinian population has no access.