The Old City’s Via Dolorosa
Within the Old City of Jerusalem, for a distance of 500 meters, is what is known as “Via Dolorosa”.
Via Dolorosa is Latin for Way of Grief or Way of Suffering, and this name adequately sums up the fateful day in history it is capturing.
This is where tradition has it that Jesus walked his final path, carrying the cross from the Lion’s Gate located in the Muslim Quarter to what presently is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is the place in which Jesus was both crucified and buried.
For over 1000 years, Christians have been coming and traveling this path, to literally walk in Jesus footsteps.
Have you ever heard of the expression “ Stations of the Cross”? It is from here that this expression finds its roots. You can locate the fourteen different stations by being on the lookout for small plaques indicating the separate sections.
Many who have heard about the Stations might be under the false impression that they are located in some picturesque, quiet landscape, delicately preserved. But once you come to this bustling section of Jerusalem, you’ll soon find out this is certainly not the case. However, don’t go accusing “modernity” on fudging the historical accuracy, the truth is that this type of hustle and bustle would have been what Jesus himself would have been surrounded by during this final tumultuous experience of his life. After all, if we go back to the history books, we will recall that that fateful Friday, during Passover week, was an extremely intensely active period in the center of Jerusalem and would have been bursting at the seams with people on pilgrimage.
An interesting note: at the first Station there is an enormous water cistern built by Herod the Great, which is thought to have been the thing that quenched the thirst of the Roman soldiers who taunted Jesus.
What exactly happened at each one of these stations, you might wonder?
To briefly recap in order that you can be on top of all of the knowledge your tour guide gives you, the list goes as follows:
#1, Jesus is condemned by Pontius Pilate.
#2, Jesus receives his Cross.
#3, Jesus falls under the weight of the Cross.
#4, Jesus meets his mother.
#5, Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross.
#6, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
#7, Jesus falls a second time.
#8, Jesus speaks to the daughters of Jerusalem.
#9, Jesus falls a third time.
#10, Jesus is stripped of his garments.
#11, Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
#12, Jesus dies on the Cross.
#13, Jesus is taken down from the Cross.
#14, Jesus is laid down to rest in the tomb.
Traveling this path through the Stations of the Cross is an incredibly meaningful journey for all Christians on a Holyland Israel Tour that want to get a literal taste of where Jesus’ final hours were.