Walking the Via Dolorosa: The Stations of the Cross route in Jerusalem

Every Easter, the news is filled with coverage of Christian devotees who, in Jerusalem, re-enact the journey of Jesus to his crucifixion. This journey is known as the Via Dolorosa or the Way of Sorrow/Way of Suffering and thousands do the pilgrimage on Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. Along this route are 14 Stations of the Cross which mark significant events in Jesus’ final hours.

Via Dolorosa in the Old City

Via Dolorosa Street in Jerusalem’s Old City

Walking tours cover this route but walking the Via Dolorosa independently is possible. Each station is marked by a plaque with roman numerals. Going at your own pace allows for local chat and food pit-stops, two things Jerusalem does very well!

I have a written a number of posts about Jerusalem. My Jerusalem Travel Tips post covers the essential information you need for travelling to the Holy City. I’ve divided Jerusalem’s sites into two posts: the Holy Sites of Jerusalem and More Jerusalem must-see sites.

Stations I and II

Enter the Old City via Lions’ Gate and walk for a couple of minutes until you reach a school with tiered steps on the left hand side of the street. Station I is on the wall above the steps. Jesus is said to have been condemned to death here. A couple of metres from the end of the steps on the opposite side of the street is Station II and it is here Jesus is made bear the Cross.

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa. The First and Second Stations are on the left and right of the arch in the distance

Stations III and IV

Continue on to the end of Via Dolorosa and turn left. On the walls of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate are Stations III and IV. At Station III Jesus is said to have fallen for the first time whilst Station IV is where Jesus meets his mother.

Via Dolorosa Third and Fourth Stations

Via Dolorosa Third and Fourth Stations

Station V

Continue south on this street until you see the fifth station on the corner to your right. This is where Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry the Cross.

Via Dolorosa Fifth Station

Via Dolorosa Fifth Station

Station VI

Taking a right at Station V and continue into the souk where Station VI is on the left-hand side. This is where Veronica wiped the face of Jesus.

Via Dolorosa Sixth Station

Via Dolorosa Sixth Station

Station VII

Continue on until you come to the junction with Souq Khan al-Zeit. Before you lies a dark brown door with red patterns. This is where Jesus fell for the second time.

Via Dolorosa Seventh Station

Via Dolorosa Seventh Station

Station VIII

Continue straight up the narrow souk where high up on the left-hand side the plaque will indicate the 8th Station. Jesus is said to have consoled the on-looking women who were crying for him.

Via Dolorosa Eight Station

Via Dolorosa Eight Station

Station IX

Back-track to Souq Khan al-Zeit, turn right and continue until you see an entrance leading to steps. Continue up the steps until you see the plaque for the 9th Station. This is where Jesus fell for the third time.

Via Dolorosa Ninth Station

Via Dolorosa Ninth Station

Stations X – XIV

Stations 10 to 14 are located in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Upon entering the Church turn immediately right and climb the stairs to the Chapel of Calvary. Station 10 is at the entrance and is where Jesus was stripped of his clothes. Station XI is further on in the chapel and is where Jesus was nailed to the Cross. An alter marks the site where Jesus died on the Cross and this is Station 12. Expect huge queues of people praying at the altar.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

To the left of the altar is Station 13 where Jesus was taken down from the Cross. Moving onwards, take the stairs to the ground floor and continue to the Aedicule, the structure containing the tomb where Jesus was buried for three days. The Aedicule marks the 14th and final Station.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Aedicule

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Aedicule

I split the route over two days, visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre early the following morning as I couldn’t gain access in the afternoon.

Piety and devotion are not required for walking the Via Dolorosa and, like many of the other religious sites in Jerusalem, is open to all faiths to experience. Whether you’re devoted to following in the final footsteps of Jesus, want the challenge of a mini-pilgrimage, or are simply curious then it’s a very worthwhile way of spending a few hours in the Holy City.

Walking the Via Dolorosa

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Walking the Via Dolorosa: The Stations of the Cross route in Jerusalem

    • ArrivalsHall says:

      Food in Jerusalem is great. Grilled veg and meats. Great bread. The freshest fruit you could find. Pomegranate juice is a speciality. Lots of dishes with rice. Really healthy food.

      Like

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