The Via Dolorosa, or “Way of Suffering” in Latin, is a processional route in the Old City of Jerusalem. The route is established by tradition and widely recognised as the path that Jesus would have walked while on His way to the crucifixion. Over the centuries, the route has changed several times. The original street level where Jesus would have walked is about 6 metres below today’s street level. There are fourteen stations along the Via Dolorosa route, with five stations inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Church of the Holy Selphure / Photo Credit: Israel Tourism
The route begins at the Praetorium where Jesus was tried and convicted, near the Lions’ Gate in the Muslim Quarter and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter. It travels through busy streets lined with snack bars and tourist shops.
1st station of the Via Dolorosa / Photo Credit: landlopers.com
Some historical points of interest include the reconstructed Ecce Homo Arch, which means “Behold the Man” in Latin, that reaches across the Via Dolorosa. It is named after the famous phrase spoken by Pilate in John 19:1–6, when Pilate scourged Jesus and stood Him before the crowd. Next to the arch is the Ecce Homo Convent of the Sisters of Our Lady of Zion, and underneath that convent are stone pavings of The Lithostratos or “The Pavement”, where Jesus was condemned by Pilate (John 19:13–15). The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a fascinating complex of structures of different medieval architectural history. The Church is always packed with noisy tourists and pilgrims, all drawn to pay homage to their Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Remains of Ecce Homo Arch in Israel