Here in the winding streets inside the Old City, visitors make their way along the Via Dolorosa, tracing the footsteps of Christ as he carried the cross to Golgotha. Christian pilgrims from Africa, Russia, Vietnam and Brazil sing and pray, drawing near to the sacred site where Jesus was condemned, crucified and buried.
It’s not unusual to hear the cry of the call to prayer from the nearby minaret during the stations of the cross. Orthodox Jewish children chase a soccer ball through the streets while a dizzying array of merchants hawk images of the Dome of the Rock, leather sandals or replicas of the crown of thorns.
In his address at the the residence of President Shimon Peres of Israel, Pope Francis lauded the peaceful co-existence of believers of various faiths but renewed his plea for peace and condemned anti-Semitism.