Thousands of Christian pilgrims have converged on Jerusalem to take part in the traditional Good Friday procession.  

A throng of Christian pilgrims crowded into the narrow cobblestone streets on the Via Dolorosa, the Way of Sorrows, here in Jerusalem's Old City. Some carried big wooden crosses, others read Bible passages, as they retraced the footsteps of Jesus to the 14 Stations of the Cross.

Tourist feels 'sense of unity'

Haley Peterson came from San Antonio, Texas.

"I love it," he said. "I think it's a great experience to really take part in the culture and the traditions here. It's not something you get back at home. You know, there's a sense of unity here that everybody joins in and worships here. I love that."

Steven Wilkenson is from the U.S. state of Utah.

"It's a special opportunity to be where the Lord Jesus Christ was and to be able to meditate where he meditated, to look on the city that he looked on, and to be with the people who love and cherish Him," he said.

Anti-terror police on the scene

Clad in black and heavily-armed, Israeli anti-terror police guarded the route, but Wilkenson said there is more coexistence in Jerusalem than people think.

"There's a lot of good people here of all faiths who have Jewish friends, Muslim friends, Christian friends, and I feel really comfortable here," said Wilkenson.

The Christians mingled with Jewish pilgrims visiting the Old City for the biblical holiday of Passover, and Muslims attending Friday prayers at the nearby Mosque of Al-Aksa, the third holiest place in Islam.

The Good Friday procession wound up at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial. At the same site on Easter Sunday, Christians will celebrate the resurrection.