The way of the cross (Via Dolorosa in Latin) in the city of Jerusalem is one of the most important pilgrimage places for Christians of different rites. The faithful walk on the footsteps of Jesus along the way he took after his condemnation by Pilate and his crucifixion and burial.
The route of the Via Dolorosa begins near the Lions' Gate in the Muslim Quarter and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter, covering 500 meters and incorporating 14 Stations of the Cross. Unfortunately, the Via Dolorosa can prove a difficult place for prayer and contemplation, as it travels through narrow and busy streets lined with many tourist shops.
Each of the 14 Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa is marked with a plaque, but these small signs can be difficult to spot. The last 5 stations of the cross (10 to 14) are located inside the church of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Via Dolorosa pilgrimage has been followed since early Christianity. Originally, Byzantine pilgrims followed a similar path to the one taken today. The path was changed in the 8th century and then again between the 14th and the 16th centuries. Today, the main route of the Via Dolorosa is the one of the early Byzantine pilgrims, with 14 stations along the way. But for most pilgrims, however, the exact location of each event along the Via Dolorosa is of little importance; since that being there has a great meaning due to the great proximity of the place to the original events and the reflection upon them along the way.