Ninth Station © Britchi Mirela
The Via Dolorosa (Road of Sorrow), also known as the Way of the Cross, is the route Jesus is said to have followed as he carried the cross to his crucifixion. There are 14 stations along the way commemorating different events, starting at Lion's Gate in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, where Jesus was convicted by Pontius Pilate, and ending at his tomb, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre within the Christian Quarter.
Every Friday at 3pm priests lead a procession and prayers are said at each station. A steady stream of pilgrims remember and honour Jesus' sacrifice by walking the Way of the Cross each year. Each station is clearly marked by a semi-circle of pavement stones with the Roman numeral of the station on the wall and some stations have additional inscriptions. There are many churches along the way, belonging to different Christian denominations, and it is fascinating to enter as many as possible and compare the different interpretations of the Via Dolorosa and of Jesus.
There are also many other, more secular, attractions along the way, with shops, cafes, restaurants and other sights and distractions for those who want a less solemn religious experience. The pathway is historically unlikely to be the exact route walked by Jesus but it is a profound walk of faith for many Christians nonetheless, and an interesting cultural experience.
Address: Via Dolorosa, Old City
Transport: Bus to Lion’s Gate.