Station 1 is Jesus’ condemnation by Pontius Pilate (Mt 27:11-24; Mk 15:1-15; Lk 23:1-25; John 18:28-19:16). This event is held to have occurred at the site of Madrasa al-Omariya, 300m west of the Lion’s Gate. The madrasa is still used as a school and can be entered with the permission of the caretaker at specific times (Mon-Thu, Sat 2:30-6; Fri 2:30-4pm). As mentioned above, an alternative location for this event is Herod’s Palace at Jaffa Gate.
Station 2 is where Jesus took up his cross. This is located next to the Franciscan Monastery of the Flagellation, across the road from the First Station.
The Chapel of Judgment/Condemnation, on the left, marks the site where Jesus was sentenced to death; the Chapel of the Flagellation, on the right, is where he was beaten by Roman soldiers (Mt 27:27-30; Mk 15:16-19; Jn 19:1-3).
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).
The Lithostratos stone slab has grooves carved in it, which are variously interpreted as channels for rainwater or traction for horses. What is clear, though, is that the squares and triangles on the slabs were made by game-playing Roman soldiers. The floor has been dated to the time of Hadrian (AD 117-138) and therefore postdates Jesus, but it is still fascinating and serves to bring to life the Gospel account of soldiers gambling for Jesus’ clothes.
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" – Jn 19:5). The arch is part of a gate dating from Emperor Hadrian’s time and was given its present name in the 16th century.
Marked by a relief sculpture above the door of a small Polish chapel at the junction with al-Wad Road, Station 3 is where Jesus fell for the first time under the weight of his cross. Station 4 is where Mary watched her son go by with the cross, and is commemorated at the Armenian Church of Our Lady of the Spasm. (Neither of these events is recorded in the Bible.) Be sure to go inside the church to see the remarkable 5th-century floor mosaic, which includes an outline of a pair of sandals, said to be Mary’s footprints.
At Station 5, Simon of Cyrene was forced by Roman soldiers to help Jesus carry this cross (Mt 27:32; Mk 15:21; Lk 23:26). This is located on the corner where the Via Dolorosa turns west off al-Wad Road and begins to narrow as it goes uphill.
At the top of a steep hill is Station 6, where, according to a tradition dating from the 14th century, St. Veronica wiped Jesus’ face with her handkerchief, leaving an image of his face imprinted on the cloth. The relic, known as the Sudarium or Veronica, is kept at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Veronica’s name may derive from the Latin vera icon, "true image."
Station 6 is commemorated by the Church of the Holy Face, served by the “Little Sisters,” a Greek Catholic rite. The chapelis part of the Crusader monastery of St. Cosmos and was refurbished by Barluzzi in 1953. Inside are refurbished Crusader arches.
At Station 7, Jesus fell for a second time. This is marked by a Franciscan chapel at the Via Dolorosa’s junction with Souq Khan al-Zeit.
Station 8 is across the market street and up the steps of Aqabat al-Khanqah, opposite the Station VIII Souvenir Bazaar. A cross and the Greek inscription "NIKA" on the wall of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Charalambos mark the place where Jesus consoled the lamenting women of Jerusalem (Lk 23:27-31).
A rather confusing route across Souq Khan al-Zeit, south down Khan al-Zeit, and up 28 stone steps leads to Station 9 at the Coptic Patriarchate next to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Here, a Roman pillar marks the site of Jesus’ third fall.
Stations 10-14 are all inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. To get to the entrance from Station 9, head south down Souq Khan al-Zeit to the end, turn right into Souq al-Dabbagha and go straight on to the doorway at the end of the street. See the Church of the Holy Sepulchre article, and the interactive floor plan of the church, for details and photos. Briefly, the last five stations are as follows:
- Jesus is stripped – top of the stairs to the right outside the entrance
- Jesus is nailed to the cross – upstairs just inside the entrance, at the Latin Calvary
- Jesus dies on the cross – Rock of Golgotha in the Greek Orthodox Calvary
- Jesus is taken down from the cross – statue of Our Lady of Sorrows next to the Latin Calvary
- Jesus is laid in the tomb – in the edicule on the main floor, inside the tiny Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre