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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

Balodimos D. a , Lavvas, G. b , Georgopoulos A. c
3 Prof., Lab of General Geodesy, National Technical University of Athens
b Prof., Dept, of Mass Media, University of Athens, Greece
c Prof., Lab. of Photogrammetry, National Technical University of Athens, Greece - drag@central.ntua.gr
Commission V, WG V/5
KEYWORDS: Close Range Photogrammetry, Geometric Recording, Analytical Restitution, Architectural Heritage Conservation,
Photographic Recording & Documentation, CAD, Surveying
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is an impressive monument built around the site where Jesus Christ has been
crucified and buried. The complex of the monument comprises meny churches, chapels, monk cells and numerous other places of
worship and extends in an area of approx. lOOOOsqm situated in the heart of the Jerusalem Old City.
The Laboratories of General Geodesy and Photogrammetry of the NTUA in collaboration with the University of Athens undertook
the huge task of documenting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem at a scale of 1:50. Such an extensive survey has never
been carried out in the past. For this work to be completed seven consecutive years of fieldwork and processing the field data were
A team of surveyors, photogrammetrists, architects, archaeologists and photographers worked in harmony and proved in practice the
merits of the interdisciplinary collaboration. The field data collected included survey measurements to more than 20000 points and
approximately 2000 metric and 3000 non-metric photos.
In this paper the fieldwork and the processing of the raw data are described. The combination of conventional survey and
photogrammetric methods proved once more ideal. The raw data were combined to the desired drawings in order to ensure copmlete
and thorough restitution of all parts of the monument. The results are also presented, discussed and assessed for their accuracy and
1.1 Historical Background
The Church of the Anastassis (Resurrection) or of the Holy
Sepulchre, as it is mostly known to western visitors, lies
majestically in the heart of the Old City Jerusalem and has a
very long history spanning over twenty centuries (Figure 1).
The first church in this site was erected by Saint Helen, the
mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, when she discovered
the Holy Cross at the beginning of the fourth century A.D.
Since then a lot of constructions, modifications, additions,
rennovations and alterations took place, the major one being
that imposed by the crusaders in the 12 th cent. A.D. when they
conquered the Holy Land.
Figure 1: The Church of the Anastassis, Jerusalem
1.2 The Status Quo
Today the Church complex is a living monument and it is
visited every year by thousands of pilgrims. All different
Christian Communities are represented and active within its
walls. Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic Franciscan, Armenian
and Coptic priests and monks and others are more or less
coexisting in harmony worshipping the same God. The
monument is divided into sections each one “belonging” to a
Community. There are, of course, sections of it common to
everybody. This unique state of ownerships is respected by all
Communities and is very hardly seen by the visitors. It
constitutes the Status Quo of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,
which has its origins in historical tradition.
1.3 The need for documenting the Monument
During all these years of its existence, very few efforts had been
made to geometrically document the monument in an objective
and thoroughly scientific way. Perhaps the most complete,
although not fully, geometric documentation was the one
carried out by V.C Corbo (Corbo, 1981), a Franciscan monk
who devoted a long time of his life to this goal. Without modern
means Corbo managed to produce drawings of good quality, but
of debatable reliability. Another serious attempt was the one
carried out by M. Cooper and his team (Biddle et al. 1992 and
Cooper et al. 1992). However, their effort was concentrated
mainly on the Edicule, i.e. the construction within the Church
of the Holy Sepulchre covering the Tomb of Christ. Hence the
need for a thorough geometric documentation was more than