When I left you guys, I had just managed to escape the tunnels below the Western Wall. And none too soon either, it was time for one of my favorite times of day; lunch. Before we could make it to lunch, we had to walk a small portion of the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion. Continue reading for Twiget Tours Jerusalem Part II.
Via Dolorosa: the “Way of Suffering”
The Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus took on his way to his crucifixion, is approximately 600 meters (2,000 feet) long and is marked by 14 stations. The first nine stations are known as the Stations of the Cross and are marked by metal shields, similar to the one in the picture below. The final five stations are in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Stations 1 & 2: Trial by Pilate
Station 3: Jesus falls for the first time
Station 4: Jesus encounters is mother, Mary (see below)
Station 5: Simon of Cyrene caries Jesus’ cross
Station 6: Veronica wipes sweat from Jesus’ head
Station 7: Jesus falls for the second time
Station 8: Jesus delivers a sermon to pious women
Station 9: Jesus fall for the third time
Stations 10 – 14 are in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and are covered below
Lunch: Between the Arches
No, we did not have lunch at McDonald’s. So far, the food in Israel has been pretty good and Between the Arches was no exception.
After lunch, we wandered though more bazaars and made our way towards the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was crucified.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
According to tradition, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on the spot where Jesus was crucified, buried and subsequently resurrected. The last five stations along the Via Dolorosa are all within the Church.
Station 10: Jesus is stripped naked
Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross
Station 12: Jesus dies on the cross
Station 13: Jesus is taken down from the cross and his body is bathed
Station 14: Jesus is laid in his crypt, where he is resurrected three days later.
The Church was originally constructed in the 4th century CE by Constantine the Great, the guy that converted the Roman Empire to Christianity. Over the next six centuries or so, the church suffered through fires, attacks from Muslim’s, and earthquakes. In 1009 CE it was destroyed as part of a wider campaign against Christian places of worship in the Middle East. In 1048 it was rebuilt, by the Byzantines.
The Church has changed hands several times over the last 1,000 years, with each occupier leaving their mark on it. It has also suffered a through fires and other natural disasters. The Church has been relatively unchanged for the last 160 years though.
As I mentioned above, the tomb of Jesus is currently being renovated. On October 26, 2016, for the first time since 1555, the marble slab protecting the entrance to the tomb was removed allowing a team of archeologists to inspect the interior. The tomb was resealed a few days later.
Several denominations hold sway over the Church, most notably the Greek Orthodox and the Catholic.The Greek Orthodox portion is fairly well lit. The Catholic controlled side, not so much.
By the time we finished with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher it was dark and starting to rain, so we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel.
Thanks for following along, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and mini-history lesson. If you have any comments (more history? less history?) let me know in the comments below. And ff you want to be notified when I make new blog posts, sign up for my mailing list for there is more to come.