For Christian travelers, it can be exhilarating to visit sites that have been described and studied in biblical texts. A Christian pilgrimage is a once in a lifetime opportunity to follow the footsteps of Jesus through some of the most profound moments in history. The most sacred of these sites can be found within the Holy Land, starting in Jerusalem - the site of the passion.
The Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem:
The Via Dolorosa is a route that extends throughout the Old City of Jerusalem. Believed to be the path that Jesus walked towards crucifixion, the Via Dolorosa is marked by nine stations of the cross and leads to the remaining five which are within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Now a bustling market place, strolling along cobblestone steps and through colorful alleyways will give you a sense of the exotic history of this ancient city.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem:
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was constructed in the 4th century and resides in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. The Calvary inside the church contains two of the holiest sites in Christianity, The Crucifixion and the burial site of Jesus. As one of the most visited sites in Israel it's best to discover the church in the quiet morning. The wander through shadowy crevices and along ancient stairwells towards the glowing Calvary can be a deeply spiritual experience.
The Church of Nativity in Bethlehem:
The Church of Nativity is the oldest church in the Holy Land with a history dating back to 330 AD. It has since been destroyed, rebuilt, expanded, repaired and is now a World Heritage Site. The Nativity Grotto is widely believed to be the cave in which Jesus was born. Travelers come from all over the world to see the fourteen pointed star and to touch the stone that is said to be the original place where Mary laid to give birth to Jesus. Inside the Basilica are continued restorations of columns, rediscovered flooring and golden mosaics depicting angels, saints, and the lineage of Christ. Each year on Christmas Eve, crowds gather in Manger Square outside the church to sing carols and celebrate the Midnight Mass. It is a truly enchanting experience.
Visit the Christian information center for details about masses and services.
About the writer, Taila Eskin: