JERUSALEM - Jerusalem was awash with thousands of pilgrims marching through the narrow cobblestone alleyways of the Via Dolorosa, or Way of Sorrows, in Jerusalem's Old City. Some carried big wooden crosses on their shoulders. They sang hymns and read Scriptures during the traditional Good Friday Procession, retracing the path of Jesus to the 14 Stations of the Cross.
'I think it's always a feeling of walking in the footsteps of Jesus, and it's a very religious feeling and very good feeling to be here,' said Frank Caldwell of the U.S. state of Minnesota.
Israeli police and soldiers armed with assault rifles guarded the route, but the atmosphere was calm.
'We feel very safe here. We certainly don't feel in any fear or that we're the targets of any kind of terrorism or violence,' Caldwell said.
Good Friday coincides with the biblical Jewish holiday of Passover this year, and Israelis also flocked to Jerusalem to celebrate. Among them was Eddie Stern.
'Passover is a family holiday for me,' he said. 'It's an understanding of perhaps why Israel exists and the history of the Jewish people coming to [the Land of] Israel.'
Adding to the religious and cultural mix, Palestinian Muslims attended Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque , the third holiest place in Islam.