Foto Good Friday

In the Christian world, today is Good Friday, marking the day Jesus was crucified. In Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow), also known as the Way of the Cross, is traditionally held to be the route Jesus walked from his judgement to his death and entombment. The Via Dolorosa winds through the Old City from the Church of the Flagellation to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Fourteen stations mark particular moments along the way, based on biblical and other traditions. The images below include some of the stations and other sites on the Via Dolorosa.

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Church of the Flagellation, center altar window showing Jesus being scourged and crowned with thorns

Church of the Flagellation, center altar window showing Jesus being scourged and crowned with thorns

Church of the Flagellation, the window on the right side of the altar, showing the convict Barabbas being released instead of Jesus, according to the demands of the crowd

Church of the Flagellation, the window on the right side of the altar, showing the convict Barabbas being released instead of Jesus, according to the demands of the crowd

Church of the Flagellation, Jerusalem, the left altar window showing Pilate washing his hands of responsibilty for the death of Jesus

Church of the Flagellation, Jerusalem, the left altar window showing Pilate washing his hands of responsibility for the death of Jesus

The arch outside the Ecce Hommo Church (Behold the Man!), where Pilate presented the bound and bloodied Jesus to the crowd

The arch outside the Ecce Hommo Church (Behold the Man!), where Pilate presented the bound and bloodied Jesus to the crowd

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

According to tradition, Jesus stumbled three times as he carried the cross. The Third Station of the Cross marks the first fall.

According to tradition, Jesus stumbled three times as he carried the cross. The Third Station of the Cross marks the first fall.

The Fourth Station of the Cross marks where Jesus encountered his mother Mary.

The Fourth Station of the Cross marks where Jesus encountered his mother Mary.

shop on the Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

shop on the Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

vegetable vendor on the Via Dolorosa

vegetable vendor on the Via Dolorosa

the Sixth Station of the Cross, where tradition holds a woman named Veronica wiped the face of Jesus as he passed

the Sixth Station of the Cross, where tradition holds a woman named Veronica wiped the face of Jesus as he passed

daily life on the Via Dolorosa

daily life on the Via Dolorosa

the Via Dolorosa ends at the Holy Sepulchre Church, where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, according to some traditions

the Via Dolorosa ends at the Holy Sepulchre Church, where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, according to some traditions

inside the Holy Sepulchre Church, Jerusalem

inside the Holy Sepulchre Church, Jerusalem

the tomb of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre Church, Jerusalem

the tomb of Jesus in the Holy Sepulchre Church, Jerusalem

Thanks to Sallie Volotzky for many of these images.

Accessible Jerusalem – 5 Wheelchair-friendly Routes in the Old City

Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem, Israel

Occasionally we get a call in the office for special needs travel, most often to Israel. This is not an area of expertise for us; there are companies and organizations out there that specialize in tours for travelers with disabilities. We can, however pass on information about the recent and ongoing work done in Israel to make more and more sites accessible to travelers with mobility, vision and hearing challenges.

Much of the Old City of Jerusalem is accessible by wheelchair by a specially developed wheelchair friendly route. In general, the Old City has a lot of slopes and stairs but with the proper map, these can mostly be avoided and a full experience of the Old City can be had. The Israel Ministry of Tourism has published a brochure detailing five different accessible tours in the Old City:

Tower of David, Jerusalem Citadel

Tower of David, Jerusalem Citadel

Tomb of David, Jerusalem, Israel

Tomb of David, Jerusalem, Israel

1. From Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate – This tour enters at the Jaffa Gate, proceeds to the Citadel and David’s Tower, which houses the Museum of the History of Jerusalem. From the museum, proceed to Christ Church and on to the Armenian Quarter and exit at Zion Gate. Outside the gate, visit David’s Tomb and the 19th-century Dormition Abbey. You get a good taste of the historical scope and diversity of Jerusalem on this tour; and the museum visit provides context for the city’s complex timeline.

Cardo Mural, Jerusalem Old City, Israel

Cardo Mural, Jerusalem Old City, Israel

2. The Jewish Quarter – This tour begins at the Zion Gate and ends at the Jewish Quarter Defenders Memorial. The Jewish Quarter was developed as such beginning in the 14th century and throughout the 400 years of Ottoman rule. Sites on this route include Hurva Square and Hurva Synagogue, a modern structure built on the site of previously destroyed synagogues; the 13th-century Ramban Synagogue; the Roman Cardo; the excavated remains of the Broad Wall, built 2700 years ago to defend against Assyrian invasion; the Ariel Center for Jerusalem in the First Temple Period, with exhibits on biblical Jerusalem; and the Burnt House, remains of a house destroyed by the Romans, along with the entire city, in 70CE.

Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem Old City, Israel

Western Wall Plaza, Jerusalem Old City, Israel

3. Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period – From the Western Wall Plaza to the Davidson Center Archaeological Park, this tour explores remains around the Temple Mount – the Western Wall, the western support wall of the 2nd Temple, all that remains of the Temple after the Roman destruction, the holiest site in Judaism; Western Wall Tunnels, underground water cisterns and storage spaces from which you can see the massive foundation stones of the Western Wall; Davidson Center Archaeological Park, with remains going back to the 1st Temple period.

Dome of the Rock, Haram al Sharif, Jerusalem

Dome of the Rock, Haram al Sharif, Jerusalem

Al Aqsa Mosque, Haram al Sharif, Jerusalem

Al Aqsa Mosque, Haram al Sharif, Jerusalem

4. The Temple Mount Compound – Starting at the Dung Gate, this tour proceeds across the Western Wall Plaza up to the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount Plaza was built by Herod in the 1st century BCE as part of his expansion of the Temple, which stood on the mount. The temple was destroyed in 70CE but the plaza remained. When the Muslims came in the 7th century, they already revered Jerusalem as a holy city and the mount in particular, which they call Haram al-Shariff (Noble Sanctuary). Islamic tradition tells that Muhammad took a Night Journey with the angel Gabriel from Mecca to the farthest mosque (al-aqsa) and from there ascended to Heaven. Jerusalem was identified as the location of the farthest mosque and the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque were built in commemoration. Some consider the Foundation Stone inside the Dome of the Rock to be the exact spot where Muhammad stood and it is believed by Jews to be the place where creation began. Non-Muslims are not allowed inside the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque, but even from the outside, they are beautiful and quite worth a visit.

Via Dolorosa, Old City Jerusalem, Israel

Via Dolorosa, Old City Jerusalem, Israel

Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel

Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel

5. The Via Dolorosa – This tour begins at the Lion’s Gate and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Just inside the gate are two important Christian sites: St. Anne’s Church, a beautiful example of Crusader architecture marking the traditional birthplace of Mary, named for her mother, Anne; and the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the crippled man. From there, a short walk leads to the start of the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus walked from his judgement to his crucifixion. The Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow) is divided into 9 stations of the cross, each marking a notable event along the way. Inside the Holy Sepulchre there are 5 more stations, for a total of 14.

These are only very brief descriptions of accessible Old City tours. Click here for complete itineraries from the Israel Ministry of Tourism. For accessible tours in other areas of Israel, click here.

www.yallatours.com