Arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport late on Thursday. I took the high speed train to Jerusalem, Yitzhak Navon Station. Then took the light rail to Jaffa station and walked to the Jerusalem Tower Hotel.
Took the bus (and got an all important RAV card) then walked through the Hinnom Valley and approached the Old City from the South. Tried to find Oscar Schindler’s grave but it is in a gated Christian cemetery to the south of the Old City.
Just a few hundred feet north are two small but interesting memorial. One is a small museum dedicated to the children killed during the Holocaust (closed). And the other was King David’s tomb, a medieval church built around what they believed was true tomb of David. If you climb a few unmarked staircases you can get to the roof for a great view of the southern part of the Old City.
Just around the corner is one of the many claimed locations of the Last Supper
In the heart of the Jewish Quarter is a collection of Four Sephardic Synagogues built by various middle eastern Jewish communities. They were rebuilt after the 1967 war and now serve as functioning synagogues.
The Cardo is an archaeological area and shopping district. There are recover streets from the Roman Era, partially reconstructed.
In the quiet streets of the Armenian Quarter is a small Syriac Orthodox Church, it’s currently being renovated but it’s a peaceful place away from the crowds.
I like to visit the British colonial churches. This is just inside the Jaffa Gate and is being decorated for Succoth.
Found a staircase to the roofs for a great and different view of the Temple Mount area. The staircase at the intersection of St. Mark’s Street and Habad Street.
Found the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. It’s an amazing and intimate Orthodox Church that is not always easy to find. The church is entered from a small door on Christian Quarter Road, often hidden by fabrics from local merchants. The address is 113 Christian Quarter Road, but be aware that most mapping apps can’t locate it. If you are lucky enough to find the door when a caretaker or priest is available, you might get admitted to this hidden treasure of Jerusalem.
The Garden Tomb is one of the popular sites for the burial of Jesus, largely because of the nearby quarry that looks a little bit like a skull. The area is now a garden with a cave and various other artifacts. Most think that the Garden Tomb is not the likely location of Jesus’ burial.
The first two stations are the traditional sites of Jesus’ trial before Pilate and the beating by the Roman soldiers. Many have difficulty finding the first site, it’s a door on the south side of the street, some get in to see the room, but most do not. Best to locate the Church of the Condemnation and walk back to site 1.
Nearby is a convent over a massive cistern built by King Herod. There is a small, 9 shekel admission fee.
Farther along the is Dolorosa is a turn when it intersects with Al Wadi Street. Stations 3 and 4 are about 100 feet south of the intersection where Jesus was supposed to have fallen for the first time and he faced he mother in the crowd.
Station 5 is farther south on Al Wadi Street, where the Via Dolorosa turns right. This marks where pilgrims believed Jesus fell again and Simon of Cyrene takes the cross.
There are two markings for Station 6, the door is the traditional location. Here Veronica wiped Jesus’ face with a cloth. This is a Catholic tradition that his face was impressed upon the cloth.
This small chapel is at the intersection of the Via Dolorosa and Souq Khan al Zeit Street. Station 7 marks where Jesus fell again.
Station 8 is a short climb up Aqaba al Khanqah Street and marks where just told the women to weep for themselves, not for him.
Return to Souq al Zeit Street and head south until there is a staircase to the right. Climb the stairs and walk back until you reach a small Coptic Church (don’t give up, it’s several turns before you find it). There is a column to the left where it is believed Jesus fell again. While there climb out onto the roof to the left to see Saint Helen’s convent.
Return to the street and follow it to the right where you will find the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the remaining stations of the Via Dolorosa. On days when there are a lot of pilgrims, it is difficult to see all of this church has to offer.