London, Apr 12 (ANI): The weekend saw thousands of pilgrims and tourists flocking Italy for a rare chance to see the Shroud of Turin- the mysterious yellowing linen which some Christians believe was Christ's burial cloth.
The Turin Shroud is due to go on display for six weeks after Easter at Turin Cathedral, where it has been kept for more than 500 years.
The cloth bears the inexplicable image - reversed like a photographic negative - of a crucified man.
It went on display on Saturday evening for the first time in 10 years.
Measuring 14.5 by 3.9 feet, it shows the back and front of a bearded man with long hair, his arms crossed on his chest, while the entire cloth is marked by what appears to be rivulets of blood from wounds in the wrists, feet and side.
"Looking at the Shroud you think this man on the cross really did live," the Telegraph quoted Paolo Moroni, who had made the journey from the south of Italy to see the cloth, as saying.
"This is a man who has been barbarically slain and reduced to a pitiful condition," he added.
Sceptics argue the Shroud is a medieval hoax, possibly made to attract the profitable pilgrimage business.
However, the Catholic Church does not claim the Shroud is authentic nor that it is a matter of faith, but says it should be a powerful reminder of Christ's passion.
The Shroud was shown only four times in the 20th century.
The last time it was put on public display was for the Catholic jubilee year in 2000.
Two million visitors are expected to go and see it before the display ends on May 23.
Pope Benedict, who is by tradition the owner of the cloth, is due to visit the Shroud on May 2nd. (ANI)