We reached the gates to old Jerusalem late that morning. What a thrill it was to enter the "gates with thanksgiving" and "His courts with praise"!
We would spend the next couple of hours following the Via Dolorosa, the path Christ took on the way to his crucifixion. The Stations of the Cross are marked along the street and represent the fourteen events between Christ's condemnation and death which are traditionally venerated by the Catholic and Orthodox traditions.
As a life-long Protestant, I was not familiar with some of the stations and neither were many in our group. But we walked, mostly in silence, noting the markers on the doors and walls along the Via Dolorosa.
Here are a few of the photos I took along the way.
|Pilate's Arch--where Jesus was condemned|
|Jesus Falls the First Time|
|Simon of Cyrene given Jesus' Cross to carry|
|Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face|
The Via Dolorosa winds its way through the center of the old city. On either side there are merchants with booths trying to sell touristy gim-cracks while residents of the area are going about their daily business. The streets were probably just as crowded the day of the crucifixion, and there were probably merchants selling stuff to Jewish pilgrims that day as well.
|Via Dolorosa--street view|
Among the crowds in the streets we saw several parades with drummers shouting and celebrating the bar mitzvah ceremonies of Jewish boys, which added a festive air to our journey as we walked through the Jewish quarter of the old city.
Finally we arrived at our destination: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The church is built over Golgotha as well as one of the places revered as Jesus' tomb.
Our visit to this church deserves its own post, so check back on Monday!