Though there are many churches and places of interest in the Christian Quarter, which is dotted with numerous memorabilia shops, restaurants and hotels, these two attractions are the most popular among visitors touring to the Quarter, and rightly so.
The Via Dolorosa
The Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross or the Way of Suffering, is traditionally regarded as the path Jesus walked from the place of Judgment to the site of crucifixion in Golgotha. The route is marked by fourteen stations that run through the streets of the Old City (the last five are located within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher). All the stations are related to popular traditions that established themselves along the years (rather than biblical sources). The route trodden today by the many pilgrims that follow in the footsteps of Jesus’ final path has slightly changed with time to fit in with new findings and certain geographical restrictions. The stations on the path are marked by plates set on street level, some of which are exterior and some of which direct you into monasteries, churches or passages.
Station I The Franciscan Church located near the Lion’s Gate, commemorates the judgment of Jesus by Pontius Pilatus.
Station II A second Franciscan Church located in the same courtyard commemorates the place where Jesus was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Station III Located next to a 19th century Polish Catholic Chapel, the third station in the Via Dolorosa commemorates Jesus’ first fall under the weight of the cross.
Station IV At the site of an Armenian Catholic Church, you will find the fourth station, where Jesus met is mournful mother Mary, parting with him as he is led to his death.
Station V Adjacent to the Chapel of the Simon of Cyrene, the fifth station commemorates the portion of the journey where Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross in his place.
Station VI In the sixth station, Jesus encounters St. Veronica, who wipes the sweat from his face, thereby imprinting the image of his face on her veil.
Station VII The site that commemorates Jesus’ second fall is located near an 18th century Franciscan Chapel
Station VIII The eighth station is the place where Jesus had a chance to pause from his journey and give a sermon to a group of pious women that gathered around him. This station is marked by a Greek Orthodox Church.
Station IX Located outside the Coptic Monastery, the ninth station commemorates Jesus’ third and final fall.
The last five stations are located inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and marked by chapels:
Station X Commemorates Jesus being stripped of his clothes.
Station XI Commemorated Jesus being nailed to the cross.
Station XII: pre;"> n>Commemorates Jesus’ death on the cross.
Station XIII Jesus is lowered from the cross and his body is handed over to his mother Mary.
Station XIV Jesus’ body is prepared for burial and laid in the chamber from which he is later resurrected.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Divided among no less than six Christian sects, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where it is believed that Jesus found his death on the cross and where he was later resurrected, is the holist place in the world to the Christian faith. The church is located in the very heart of the Christian Quarter and was first built in the days of Emperor Constantine. The structure standing today can mostly be dated back to the time of the crusaders, though there are some patches that date back to different eras. Sharing such a small and significant space between six denominations has proved to be quite challenging throughout the centuries, but in the past hundred years or so the six sects have managed to maintain a manageable status-quo.
Besides the five stations, marked by five chapels, you will also find the Cavalry. This is considered to be the place where Jesus was crucified (Golgotha) and is the most embellished part of the church. There you will also find the rock of Cavalry, the twelfth station in the Via Dolorosa. On the ground floor, near the entrance, you will see the Stone of Anointing, where, according to tradition, Jesus’ body was prepared for burial. The Sepulchre itself, Jesus Christ’s place of burial which belongs mutually to all six sects, is located in the heart of the church and is the place where various joint celebrations take place.
The church is indeed a most impressive and extremely popular site of worship. During Easter, many processions and events take place in the church and the surrounding area.
Open Sun-Sat 4:30-20:00