The Terra Sancta Museum in Jerusalem’s Old City sits on the Via Dolorosa (“Way of Sorrow”), the path, according to tradition, that Jesus walked before his crucifixion. The Via Dolorosa begins at the Antonia Fortress just inside the Lions’ Gate and ends at Golgotha, located within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For centuries, Christian pilgrims have walked this path (or similar pathways, since the current route was established only in the 18th century) and stopped at the various Stations of the Cross.
Now the Terra Sancta Museum offers a new stop on this old way. The museum is situated inside the Monastery of the Flagellation, which is associated with the Antonia Fortress (a military tower) and Pontius Pilate’s residence (the Praetorium),1 where Jesus was tried, flogged and sentenced to death. Some quarters of the Monastery are being renovated and unveiled to the public for the first time as part of three new wings in the museum.
The first wing to open is a multimedia experience that invites visitors to explore the history of Jerusalem. Lights, images and a series of narrators guide visitors through the exhibit—highlighting the various artifacts and architectural remains on display. The narrative focuses on Jerusalem during the Roman period and on the roots of Christianity, but it addresses earlier and later times in Jerusalem’s history as well.