Spots along the ancient pilgrimage road to Jerusalem

Spots along the ancient pilgrimage road to Jerusalem

The Book of Luke describes Joseph and Mary’s annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s temple on Passover. On your tour of Israel, visit stops on the ancient pilgrimage road and experience some of the excitement of what was once an arduous trip to the holy city.

Jesus visited Jerusalem a number of times. At age twelve, he joined his parents on a pilgrimage and questioned the sages there about their interpretation of scripture. He visited for the Feast of Hanukkah and taught in Solomon’s Porch in the Temple compound. He sat opposite one of the treasuries of the Temple and taught Torah on his last pilgrimage to the Temple.

Ancient roads to Jerusalem traverse the country from the area of the Sea of Galilee all the way to the Temple. Most scholars assume that these roads were built by the Romans, but a small minority of Israeli scholars cite the presence of steps (not found in Roman roads) and the proximity of water sources for purification purposes as proof that these were Jewish roads.

Visit the Inn of the Good Samaritan, a hostel on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, which apparently accommodated pilgrims traveling through the Judean desert. This inn is traditionally held to be the location of the event of the Good Samaritan. Today, the inn serves as a museum of ancient mosaics discovered throughout Judea and Gaza. View the mosaics in the outdoor section of the museum, partially covered by a reconstructed Byzantine church, as well as the mosaics hung on the walls and decorating the floors of the indoor section.

At the Pool of Siloam, see the starting point of the impressive Jerusalem Pilgrim Road which led to the Temple Mount through the Hulda Gates in the southern wall of the mount. The path begins at the pool, where Jews purified themselves before ascending the mount, and includes landings separated by two steps. Climb the wide stairs up to the Hulda Gates and walk around to the Mughrabi Gate to enter the Temple Mount itself.

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