Rachel’s Tomb is the site revered as the burial place of the matriarch Rachel. The tomb is held in esteem by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The site is also referred to as the Bilal bin Rabah mosque. The tomb, located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem, is built in the style of a traditional maqam. The burial place of the matriarch Rachel as mentioned in the Jewish Tanakh, the Christian Old Testament and in Muslim literature is contested between this site and several others to the north. Although this site is considered unlikely to be the actual site of the grave, it is by far the most recognized candidate. The earliest extra-biblical records describing this tomb as Rachel’s burial place date to the first decades of the 4th century CE. The structure in its current form dates from the Ottoman period, and is situated in a Christian and Muslim cemetery dating from at least the Mamluk period. When Sir Moses Montefiore renovated the site in 1841 and obtained the keys for the Jewish community, he also added an antechamber, including a mihrab for Muslim prayer, to ease Muslim fears.
Rachel’s Tomb is located in the city of Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem. For centuries, it lay on a deserted roadside, and Rachel’s descendents would come here to pour out their hearts to her—the mother who dwells in a lonely wayside grave in order to be there for her suffering children. . . . From the fifth century CE until the mid-1800s, Rachel’s tomb was marked by a tiny dome upheld by four beams. In 1841, Sir Moses Montefiore and his wife (who, like Rachel, was childless) added walls to the dome, and added a long room where visitors could find shelter from the weather, rest or have a bite to eat. The image of Rachel’s tomb that has been popularized in art and photos is of this structure.