Via Dolorosa

Some of the most amazing places to visit on Christian Holy Land tours are also the most moving and somber, like Via Dolorosa. Via Dolorosa, or the "way of sorrows" is the road that Jesus took from the place where Pontius Pilate sentenced him all the way to Golgotha. Located in Old Jerusalem, visitors will be able to walk the Via Dolorosa and reflect during their Israel tour about the events leading up to the Crucifixion. The streets are often noisy with vendors and buildings stand tall on either side. Things are pretty much the way they were when Jesus walked this street, which makes the experience all the more meaningful. Jesus walked this street during Passover week, so it would have been far from quiet, though many would have been afraid to look because of the Roman presence around Jesus. This is also where Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry the cross (Mark 15:21). As the last path Jesus walked, many Christians come to the Holy City to see it in person. Many of the sacred landmarks come from sacred stories, which eventually became the Stations of the Cross. A total of 14 stations, the first is where Pilate condemned Jesus and forced him to take up the cross in the Praetorium (Mark 15:15). There is a convent over a part of the large fortress, which has ancient flagstones known as the Gabata (John 19:13) or pavement of stone. Beneath this is a gigantic cistern for water that was built by Herod the Great, which may have been used to drink from by the Roman soldiers that taunted Jesus (Matt. 27:27-31). The Stations of the Cross are marked about 20 ft below the modern road. The Via Dolorosa was repaved by the ancient stones found by the Jerusalem Municipality some years ago. Beyond the Praetorium is the third station where Jesus fell with the cross (this is known as a recurring event and is marked by 2 other stations as well). The fourth station marks where Simon was forced to take up the cross for Jesus. They stations continue to tell the story of Jesus’ journey to the site where he was crucified-Jesus meets Mary, a woman wipes Jesus’ face, Jesus addresses the women in Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-30), the crucifixion and burial (marked by the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher). The Via Dolorosa is truly a site that should be experienced by anyone who takes a trip to Israel. Luke Chapter 23:26-32 26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" 32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. (America Israel Travel)

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