The tomb where Jesus is believed to have been buried is being unveiled again following nine months of restoration work that will be highlighted at a much-anticipated ceremony Wednesday.
The shrine, which includes a 19th-century ornate edicule or shrine surrounding the tomb, is a key part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City.
However, centuries of candle smoke and visiting pilgrims had left it discoloured and almost black.
Parts of it were also coming loose, with warnings that it was structurally unsound and posed a risk to the millions of pilgrims who visit the site every year. Israeli authorities briefly closed it in 2015 over security fears.
Following a $3.7-million (3.4-million-euro) renovation led by the church’s three main Christian denominations, the tomb has been painstakingly restored to its former glory — including a warm reddish-yellow colouring.
The tomb AFP reports will be formally reopened today (Wednesday) in a ceremony in Jerusalem led by religious leaders and donors.