this will be my tip and pictures of the Via Dolorosa Maps.
If you are on a packaged tour of the Holy Land, while at the Old City of Jerusalem, you will be provided with a Via Dolorosa Map by your tour company which you can read while following the Stations of the Cross in the Old City. If not, you can buy the Via Dolorosa Maps from various Hawkers and shops lining the old city and if you are not part of a tour group, this Via Dolorosa Map has directions and explanations on the way to each station of the Cross. You can buy these Via Dolorosa Map from NIS 3 to 6 from the shops of the hawkers milling around the first station of the cross in the Ecce Homo Arch or near the Church of the flagellation at Station two.
"the way of grief" marks the believed path of Jesus as he made his way from condemnation at the Church of the Flagellation to his cruxification site at the Holy Sepulchre Church carrying his cross. Today the path is marked with milestones. Walk it early as the narrow path quickly becomes choked with Pilgrim groups.
The claimed route of Jesus as he carried his cross is about an act of faith rather than fact.
It is believed that the basis of the route is from the 3rd/4th century when Byzantine priests walked this route between Gethsemane to Calvary on Holy Thursday.
Changes to the route did not prevent 'Via Dolorosa' developing as a major pilgrimage, to the point where in the 14th century, Latin Christianity divided into two camps with differing chapels built along the way. Pilgrimage changed further when the tradition of starting at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was changed so that it became the end of the route.
But the main problem with Via Dolorosa is that Jesus was likely to have been condemned to death at the other side of the city - his starting point being at the Citadel at Jaffa Gate (Herod's palace and PIlate's official residence). Other's however believe he was condemned on Temple Mount and therefore the route of Via Dolorosa is a true path.
Whatever is true, the Via Dolorosa is a main pilgrimage site travelling as it does from Lion's Gate to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre through the predominantly Muslim quarter with the various stations of the cross celebrated in different ways - an engraving, a plaque, a small chapel.
At 3pm every Friday, there is a procession along the route by Franciscan monks.
Via crucis or via dolorosa as it is called in Jerusalem is the road that christians believe Jesus walked carring the cross up to the golgotha before being crucifixed.
The road starts at lions gate but it is a few minuts walk away fromdamascus gate if you are entering there, then it passes through the muslim quarter and leads to the church of holy sepulcher.
It is marked by 14 stations which indicate events during the journey.
We visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher prior to walking the Via Dolorosa. The Church was very crowded during our visit, too much to see in the hour or so allocated and I did not realise that Stations 10 to 14 were inside this church.
We rejoined our guide outside the church and commenced our walk along the Via Dolorosa, the small street very crowded mid afternoon. It was easy to get sidetracked with all the shops , stalls and old buildings along the way. I lagged behind and missed stations 7 & 8.
I found the walk most interesting, for those not religious take the walk as the stations are nothing outstanding, just markers.
Ecce Homo Church is a Roman Catholic Church on Via Dolorosa. It is part of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion.
The church contains one arch of a Roman gateway, which has a further arch crossing the Via Dolorosa outside. Ratisbonne, a French Jew and former atheist who converted to Catholicism and became a Jesuit, decided to purchase the site. Between 1858 and 1862, he built a basilica (the Church of Ecce Homo), an orphanage for girls, and standard convent buildings.
The Church of the Flagellation is a Roman Catholic church located in the eastern or old section of Jerusalem, near the Saint Stephen's Gate. Also included in this complex are the Franciscan Monastery of the Flagellation, and the Church of the Condemnation and Imposition of the Cross.
According to tradition the church enshrines the spot where Jesus Christ was flogged by Roman soldiers before his journey down the Via Dolorosa to Calvary.
The original structure was built in 1839 over the remains of a medieval crusader shrine. During the Ottoman period this early shrine and its surrounding buildings were reportedly used as stables, and later as private houses. The whole complex was eventually given to the Franciscans by Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt in the 19th century.
The current church was completed between 1927 and 1929 and was a complete reconstruction of the original shrine. The interior of the church consists of a single aisle. Some noteworthy points of interest include the church's three stained glass windows, each depicting a different aspect of the church's Biblical history, and the church's mosaic-clad golden dome.
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for a feast of the Jews.
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.
Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.
One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"
"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
and so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, "It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat."
But he replied, "The man who made me well said to me, 'Pick up your mat and walk.' "
So they asked him, "Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?"
The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."
The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.
St. Anne's Church is located in the Muslim Quarter near the Lion's Gate. You may enter through a wooden doorway leading to a hidden garden enclave.
The church is right next to the Bethesda Pool, believed to be the site where Jesus healed a paralytic. Here you can see ruins of a Roman temple to the god of medicine and remains of a Byzantine church built over the temple.
As the church is just a few hundred feet east of the Sanctuaries of the Flagellation and the Condemnation, at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa, you might want to visit it before following the stations of the cross.
In 1856, in gratitude for French support during the Crimean War, the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Majid presented it to Napoleon III, and the interior was cleared of later additions.
In the south aisle is a flight of steps leading down to the crypt, in a grotto believed by the Crusaders to be Mary's birthplace.
The Second Station - where Jesus was given the Cross. It is located next to the Franciscan Monastery of the Flagellation, across the road from the First Station. The Chapel of the Flagellation, on the right, is where Jesus was beaten by Roman soldiers.
The place was only a mound of ruins, when in 1838, it was granted to the Franciscans by Ibrahim Pasha, conqueror of the Turks. Hastily rebuilt in the following year thanks to the generosity of Maximilian of Bavaria, the chapel was entirely restored in 1927-29 by A. Barluzzi, inspired here by the 12th century architecture.
From here, the Via Dolorosa turns south on Tariq Bab al-Ghawanima and passes the northwestern gate of the Temple Mount, Bab al-Ghawanima. Up ahead on the north side of the Via Dolorosa is the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, which contains large pieces of the Lithostratos (Pavement of Justice).
Just west of the entrance to the Lithostratos is the Ecce Homo Arch, where Pilate identified Jesus to the crowd saying "Ecco homo" ("Behold the man"). The arch is part of a gate dating from Emperor Hadrian's time and was given its present name in the 16th century.
Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold, the Man!" .
The First Station - where Jesus was sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate. This event is believed to be held at the site of Madrasa al-Omariya, which is located about 300m west of the Lion's Gate. It is only one part of what tradition considered to be the Praetorium of Pilate. The other part took up the northern side of the street.
The Chapel of Judgment/Condemnation, on the left, marks the site where Jesus was sentenced to death.
Unfortunately the Madrasa can be entered only with the permission of the caretaker at specific times. That’s why we didn’t go there and saw the place from the distance.
“Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.
"Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate.
"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
The chief priests accused him of many things.
So again Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of." But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested.
A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising.
The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
"What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them.
"Crucify him!" they shouted.
"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”
The Ninth Station - where Jesus fall for the third time.
The spot of Jesus' third fall as he neared Calvary was originally located in the courtyard of the Holy Sepulchre and it was marked by a stone with a cross engraved on it. The interruption of the Way of the Cross in the 16th century seems to have erased the memory of the original site. Later on, the current site was designated as the Ninth Station, in the immediate vicinity of the Church of Saint Anthony.
The Eighth Station - where Jesus met the Women of Jerusalem.
A carved Cross marks the spot of the Eight Station across the market street and up the steps of Aqabat al-Khanqah, opposite the Souvenir Bazaar. A stone embedded in the wall of the Greek, Monastery of Saint Haralambos has a Latin Cross and the Greek words "Jesus-Christ conquers."
The site of the Eighth Station has been recorded at this spot since the middle of the 19th century when the Franciscans moved the commemoration site to beyond the "Judgement Gate."
The Seventh Station - where Jesus fall for the second time.
The Franciscans took possession of this chapel at the Via Dolorosa's junction with Souq Khan al-Zeit in 1875 and they built over it two superimposed chapels. Within the chapel are the remains of a large column of red stone coming from the remains of the Tetrapylon of Aelia Capitolina.
The Sixth Station - where Veronica wiped the face of Jesus.
According to a tradition dating from the 14th century, Veronica wiped Christ's face with a silk veil on which His features remained imprinted. The holy relic of this meeting, Veronica's veil, has been kept since the eight century in Saint Peter's Basilica (Rome).
Station 6 is commemorated by the Church of the Holy Face, served by the “Little Sisters,” a Greek Catholic rite.
The Fifth Station - where Simon the Cyrenian helped carry the Cross.
Simon of Cyrene was forced by Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry this cross. All the Synoptic Gospels mention this event. There is a small Franciscan chapel at the corner where Tyropeon Valley turns toward the Market Road (on the right, in the east-west direction).
This chapel marks the devotion of the Cyrenian helping Jesus to carry the Cross.