Drone shows Holy Land ahead of Orthodox Easter

For a year the Christian sites of the Holy Land, like the sacred places of Judaism and Islam, were under varying degrees of lockdown or restriction, and bereft of foreign pilgrims.

Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, was the first area in the occupied Palestinian Territories to be forced into lockdown just before Easter last year (2020), closing the Church of the Nativity.

Other churches followed soon afterwards, including Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre, built over the sites where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

But on both sides of the Holy Land, as the Christian calendar progressed from Christmas to Easter, the faithful began to turn out again in greater numbers.

Early hopes that this year's Easter celebrations might be completely free of restrictions proved over-optimistic.

But at the start of Holy Week, the huge medieval doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre swung open to admit churchgoers.