Some take pilgrimages to atone for sins, others simply desire time to fulfill their spiritual needs. Regardless of why people choose to embark on a personal journey, all can enjoy one of the most amazing treks of their lives – one that follows Christ’s footsteps.
There are several pilgrimages available around the world but a new route, opened as part of a project led by the Israel Antiquities Authority, offers a very special path.
Pilgrims can now walk the same routes Jesus and his disciples took through Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.
The trail has been clearly marked and the route includes explanations of what important sites pilgrims are passing.
Jesus and his disciples took many paths but the one chosen for the pilgrimage includes a metaphoric journey through sin and redemption.
Pilgrims begin with the “descent” alongside the southern Ottoman wall outside the Temple Mount.
There are in-depth illustrations and an exhibit of stone vessels. The accompanying explanation reveals this area is used to purify vessels, clothing and objects.
Other route information includes Jewish traditions and religious rules in the region.
Along the route through the “floating stairs” between the ruins of buildings and instillation, pilgrims learn about religious laws having to do with the mikvah, 2,000-year-old ritual baths once used by pilgrims visiting the Temple Mount.
The second leg of the journey includes the “ascent” from the Pool of Siloam through the City of David. This path leads pilgrims to the Ophel and its ritual baths.
Finally, the journey ends at the Temple Mount.
There are also shade stations, observation points and several gathering areas along the path, which includes newly renovated and carefully conserved sites.
The route officially opened early February and 75-minute tours are available at the Davidson Center Archeological Park. For interested tourists, tours are closed Saturdays.
By Kenya Sinclair