The route of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem also known as as the „ Way of Sorrow” is actually a street located in Old Town of Jerusalem, the Holy Land, believed to be the path walked by Jesus on his way to the cross.
In our days this is one of the most popular attractions among Christians and many processions reminding us about Jesus walking in this way are still in place multiple times per day.
Along with Via Dolorosa Jerusalem, there are 14 stations of the cross: 9 Stations are located before you reach the Church of Holy Sepulchre and the remaining of 5 are after this site.
How to walk Jerusalem Via Dolorosa
To follow the path as Jesus did you have to start it from the Muslim Quarter right inside the Old Town of Jerusalem near the Lion’s Gate.
You can do the tour by yourself or you can choose to book a tour with a specialized guide who can provide you with useful information about each Station and its significance.
We choose to book tickets at Jerusalem: Three Religions Holy City Walking Tour which is a 4 hours tour starting at 11 in the morning and includes a walk along The Way of Sorrow plus a tour of the Jerusalem Old Town Quartiers.
If you are more adventurous and like to explore the city on your own then follow my instructions from this article for a correct and complete tour of this amazing attraction.
So, like I said earlier the tour should start at the Lion’s Gate from the Old Town of Jerusalem.
Station I and II of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem
The first station from Via Dolorosa Jerusalem is known as the Praetorium. It is located on the place where today is Umariya Elementary School and this is the place where Jesus was whipped and convicted.
The second Station is located not far by the first one right near the Ecce Homo Arch. On this place, the Chapel of the Condemnation and the Chapel of the Flagellation was built.
Both the first and the second stations remind users about the moment when Jesus meets Pontius Pilate and when he gave his famous Ecce Homo speech.
On these places Jesus was convicted, a crown of thorns was placed on his head and a cross was given to him to carry all the way to the Calvary.
“When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha… Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha.”
— Gospel of John, 19:13, 16-17
“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”. And they slapped him in the face.”
— Gospel of John, 19: 1-3
Station III of Via Dolorosa Jerusalem
The third station from the path marks the place where Jesus fell for the first time due to the weight of the cross on his way to the Calvary.
The place is marked with an image of Jesus falling and a church was built on this Station.
Inside of the Polish Catholic Church, there is another picture with Jesus falling with the cross on his back and in the underground of the church, there are the remaining of a Turkish bath.
“…but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”. Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
— Gospel of John, 19: 25–27
Station IV of Jerusalem Via Dolorosa
This is the place where Jesus met her mother on his way to the Calvary.
The place is marked by a church, the Armenian Catholic Church of Our Lady Of the Spasm. The first church from this place was built in the 5th century but was destroyed a few hundred years later.
What you see today is a church built on 1881 and inside of it, you can find a beautiful mosaic which depicts a pair of sandals marking the place where it is believed that Mary stood when She met her sun.
“As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.”
— Matthew, 27:32
Station V of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem
This is the place where Romans asked Simon of Cyrene to help Jesus carry his cross.
The place is marked by a chapel, the Chapel of Simon of Syrene, a Franciscan chapel and on the wall, right near the church, there is a picture of a large cross with three smaller crosses in each corner with the arms of Jesus and Saint Francis of Assisi below.
Station VI and VII of Via Dolorosa Jerusalem
On the sixth station, you will find a door which is believed to be the door of Veronica’s house, the woman who exit her house and wiped Jesus face with a cloth.
This piece of cloth known today as the Veil of Veronica or Sudarium is one of the most important relics in Christianism and it is believed that even today you can see on it the face of Jesus printed on it.
The seventh Station from the path is the place where it is believed that Jesus felt for the second time. This place is marked with a small chapel built a few metres away from the souk.
Station VIII of Jerusalem Via Dolorosa
This is the place where Jesus addressed the daughters of city of Jerusalem when they were crying for his faith.
The place is marked with a big Latin Cross made from stone having on it the inscription of ICXC NIKA which comes from Greek ‘Insoús Xristós Niká’ and which means „Jesus Christ Conquers”.
Station IX of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem
For the nine station from the path, you need to cross the streets inside the souk and to turn right in Khan al-Zeit St and is the place where Jesus fell for the third time.
The station is located right near the Ethiopian and Coptic Monasteries and is marked with green flags. This is the last station before the Holy Sepulchre Church.
Station X- XIV of Via Dolorosa Jerusalem
The next 5 stations are located inside the Church of Holy Sepulchre:
- Station X – Jesus is stripped of his garments
- Station XI- Jesus is nailed to the cross
- Station XII- Jesus dies on the cross
- Station XIII- Jesus is taken down from the cross to be put on the tomb.
The Church of Holy Sepulchre was built in 335 AD in the place where it is believed to be the Calvary of the Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
Station XIV of Jerusalem Via Dolorosa
This last station marks the place where Jesus was put in the tomb and celebrate the moment of resurrection.
Because the Sabbath was approaching, Jesus was removed from the cross and laid in a tomb on a stone known as the Stone of Unction.
His body was prepared for burial procession and was put in the tomb. He then resurrected from the dead and remained on Earth for another 40 days.
Following the path of Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem is one of the most important things to do if you are a pilgrim in this amazing city.
A deep feeling of respect surrounds you and you feel the desire of reading more about these events and to understand what happened here.
I would definitely recommend you to include this walking on your tour because is an incredible experience which you will not forget it!
Logistical tips and tricks for your trip
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