JERUSALEM (AP) -- Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of old Jerusalem to mark Good Friday, commemorating Jesus' crucifixion in the city two millennia ago.
Thousands of international visitors and local Christians retraced Jesus' last steps down the Via Dolorosa, which is Latin for "Way of Suffering."
The route ends at the ancient Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and two days later, his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
One pilgrim, Herman Backhaus of Munster, Germany, said being in Jerusalem reminded him that Jesus "actually lived, and his message didn't die with him on the cross."
"It's really wonderful for me as a pilgrim to be here and to be on the way of the cross where Jesus was 2,000 years ago," said an American visitor, Naomi Hoipkemier, who was on the Via Dolorosa with her husband and twin sons.
Jerusalem's walled Old City was crowded Friday with adherents of different churches and faiths. The calendars of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches coincide this year, so the sects are marking the holy week together. This has required careful arrangements to avoid conflicts among the many ceremonies and processions of each church.
Jews are currently celebrating the weeklong Passover festival, and the city's Jewish Quarter was also full of visitors Friday.
Israeli police were deployed in force in the Old City, which contains sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)