The first two stations of the Way of the Cross are located in the immediate vicinity of the Ecce Homo arch. These and seven other stations are indicated by number 1-9; the other five are within the Holy Sepulchre.
The Via Dolorosa is defined by faith, not by history. On the night of Holy Thursday Byzantine pilgrims used to go in procession from the Eleona church of the top of the Mount of Olives to Calvary. After a stop at Gethsemane, they entered the city by the present St Stephan’s Gate, and followed approximately the present route, but there were no further devotional halts along the way. By the C8 a number of stops had become customary but the route was completely different. In the C14 the Franciscans organized a devotional walk to follow the steps of Jesus in Jerusalem; a number of the present stations figured on this itinerary, but the starting- point was the Holy Sepulchre.
The present Way of the Cross has little chance of corresponding to historical reality; it is more probable that Pilate condemned Jesus to death on the other side of the city at the Citadel, the ‘high point’, Gabbatha, according to John 19:13. This was the palace of Herod where Pilate normally resided when he came up from Caesarea to ensure control during the great Jewish feasts. According to the gospels, the trial took place on a platform (Matt. 27:19) in the open (Luke 23:4, John 18:28). Such a structure existed at the palace in AD 66, as we know from what Josephus says of one of Pilate’s successors: ‘Florus lodged at the palace, and on the following day had a platform placed in front of the building and took his seat; the chief priests, the nobles, and the most eminent citizens then presented themselves before the tribunal’ (War 2:301); as in the case of Jesus, the affair ended in crucifixions.
Source: The Holy Land by Jerome Murphy- O’Connor