Below the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City lies the Praetorium (Matt. 17:27; Mark 15:16) where Jesus was condemned by Pontius Pilate. Located at the beginning of the Via Dolorosa, this is one of the most memorable stops a Christian can make in the Holy City.
Over it, in the nineteenth century, the Sisters of Zion built a convent, incorporating the arch said to have been where Pontius Pilate presented Jesus to the people and said “here is the man” (John 19:5). Little did the sisters know that in the coming years, the deeper they dug beneath their convent, the more remains would emerge of this gigantic fortress, built by Herod the Great. Visitors can see a large cistern covered by a later pavement etched with meaningful symbols, including the “game of the King.” Here, many pause in prayer and to recall Jesus’ mocking by the Roman soldiers at the place John called the Gabbata, or “stone pavement” (John 19:13).