Upon arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, your guide will greet you and we will assist you with the first formalities… Transfer to Jerusalem for check-in at your hotel.
Drive to Bethlehem and visit the ancient Church of Nativity, the very place where Jesus was born, with the Catholic St. Catherine Church housing the tombs of the Forty Innocent Children, as well as the Milk Grotto. Drive to Beit Sahur to visit the Church of the Shepherds Fields. Returning to Jerusalem, we ascend the Mt. of Olives to the Church of Ascension, from where we walk to the Pater Noster Church, one of the first 4 churches built by St. Helen. Now, just like Our Lord in the past, we can enjoy a panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem! A steep road takes us down to the Dominus Flevit Church, where the Lord wept over the destruction of the Temple. We will end this day at the Garden of Gethsemane, humbly meditating under the ancient Olive Trees, remembering Our Lord’s wailing in the Church of All Nations… Overnight in Jerusalem.
Our Old City Tour starts with a re-experience of that dramatic Friday, when Jesus was crucified. We start at the Bethesda Pools, where Jesus healed the crippled man who couldn’t walk for decades, and the St. Anna Church, famous for its long-lasting echo. Following Our Lord on the Way of the Cross – the “Via Dolorosa”, we stop by the Ecce Homo Arch, and walk through the colorful “Suq” (Bazaar) of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where we will see the Hill of Calvary (Golgotha) and the empty Tomb of Jesus. Walking through the Jewish Quarter we will see the well-preserved Roman Cardo. We exit the Old City through the Zion Gate to visit the “Upper Room” (also known as the Cenacle or Caenaculum) where Jesus and his disciples had the Last Supper together, King David’s Tomb and the St. Peter in Gallicantu Church, where Jesus was imprisoned in the House of Caiaphas the High Priest. We end this eventful day at the famous Western (“Wailing” Wall) –the last remnants of the Jewish Temple. Today different Jews from all over the world come here to worship. Overnight in Jerusalem.
This day is dedicated to the New City of Jerusalem: After breakfast we drive to Ein Karim, the picturesque village where tradition says that John the Baptist was born. Visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial, following by a visit to the known Menorah (Candelabra) situated in front of the Knesset Building, housing Israel’s Parliament. At the Israel Museum we will visit the 1:50 Model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period (the Time of Jesus) and the “Shrine of the Book” where the original “Dead Sea Scrolls” are exhibited. We end the day at the colorful (and noisy…) Machane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem’s “real” parliament… Overnight in Jerusalem.
We descend through the Judean Desert, to the newly re-opened Inn of the Good Samaritan, where except for the ancient Byzantine Church, we can visit a rare archaeological exhibition of Jewish, Christian and Samaritan findings, which can spread a lot of light on the story of the Good Samaritan. Now we descend to the deepest place on earth – The Dead Sea! Arriving there, we will visit Qumran, where the famous “Dead Sea Scrolls” were found and learn about the life of the Esseans, who lived a life that was very similar to the life and ideas of Jesus and his disciples. We end the day floating (you can’t swim…!!) in The Dead Sea, known for its healing qualities. Overnight in Kibbutz Ein Gedi or at the Dead Sea
We leave the hotel and driver along the Dead Sea to Jericho, where we shall see the Sycamore Tree, on which tradition says that Zacchaeus the Tax-collector climbed in order to see The Lord, and Elisha’s spring. A modern cable-car will take us up to the Mount of Temptation, where the monks built their monastery hanging from a cliff, on the spot where Jesus was tempted by the Devil. A short drive will bring us to the Allenby (King Hussein) Bridge, where we cross the border to Jordan. On the other side, our Jordanian guide and bus will be waiting for us, assisting us with the formalities. Drive to Amman, where we will spend our first night in Jordan.
After breakfast we will conduct a short city-tour through Jordan’s capital, Amman, including the Citadel and the Roman Theater. Then we drive along Jordan’s main road to the town Madaba, to visit the famous St. George Church, where a 6th Century mosaic-map of the Holy Land can be seen. Then, like Moses before us, we will take a look at the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo and also take a close look at the colorful, vivid mosaics of Mt. Nebo Monastery. Further on Moses’ footsteps, we drive along the biblical “Kings Highway” to the “Rock of Edom” – Petra! Overnight in Petra.
A full day visit of the “Rose-Red City” Petra, including the famous “Siq”, the “Treasury”, the Roman-Nabathean Theater and many of the mysterious monuments carved by the ancient Nabathean in the red sandstone. In the afternoon we will visit Moses’ Spring, and head back to Amman. Overnight in Amman.
Depart Jordan through the Sheikh Hussein Bridge and cross back to Israel. After boarding the Israeli bus, we drive to Beth Shean, a well-preserved Roman-Byzantine city, one of the famous “Decapolis” where Saul, King of Israel, fell on his sword with his son Jonathan after the dramatic battle at Mt. Gilboa. We end the day at the Yardenit Baptismal site on the holy Jordan River. Overnight in Nazareth/Galilee.
We begin our visit of the Galilee in Nazareth, where we visit the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Greek-Orthodox St. Gabriel Church near Mary’s Well. Visit Cana in Galilee, where Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine at a wedding. Following Jesus’ Footsteps we drive up a steep, winding road to Mt. Tabor with its scenic Church of the Transfiguration. After descending the mountain, we drive back to our hotel in Galilee.
Today we visit the places where Jesus acted around the Sea of Galilee: Capernaum, with Peters House and the famous Synagogue, enjoy the view from the Mt. of the Beatitudes, where the “Sermon on the Mount” was given, and the reconstructed church at Tabgha, where tradition puts the miracle of the Bread and The Fish. We will also sail on the sea in a boat similar to the boat used by Jesus and his disciples and see the Boat of the times of Jesus exhibited in the museum by Kibbutz Ginossar. Overnight in Nazareth/Galilee.
We ascend the Golan Heights to Caesarea Philippi (Baniass) – one of the sources of the holy Jordan River. The natural beauty of the spot is the scenery to the remarkable archaeological findings of Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus gave Peter the authority to be “the Rock on which I shall build my Church!” Drive up to the summit of Mount Bental. From the top of this non-active volcano you have a wide view over the Mountains of Galilee, up to Lebanon, and far over the Syrian border. This is an excellent spot to explain the geography and history of this region in the past and present. Continue to Ancient Katzrin, to view the well-preserved synagogue and town, where you can also understand daily life during Jesus’ Time. For those interested, a wine-tasting session at the famous Golan Winery in Katzrin can be arranged. Overnight in Nazareth/Galilee.
Visit Tell Megiddo, one of Israel’s most ancient cities, where we can find traces of fortifications left by the Canaanites, King Salomon, King Ahab, and more, as well as a very sophisticated water system, some claim was built by the king Salomon. This strategic place has always been the scenery of war, and according to John’s Revelation it is here where the last battle shall take place – the battle of Armageddon. From here we drive through some Druze villages to the modern port-city Haifa, situated on the slopes of the evergreen Mt. Carmel. The view from this mountain is famous for its beauty, and time permitting, we can also visit the Carmelite monastery Stella Marris, where “Elijah’s Cave” can be seen. Drive down to the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea Maritima, the magnificent port-city built by King Herod the Great. From here St. Peter went to Rome and started with his first miracles. Near Caesarea’s well-preserved theater an inscription of the procurator Pontius Pilate was found. We continue along the Mediterranean Shore to Israel’s economic & cultural center, Tel Aviv, where we shall spend our last two nights.
We start the day in Old Jaffa, one of the ancient gateways to the Holy Land: Through its port the Cedar trees for Salomon’s Temple were brought, the prophet Jonas tried to flee God, but most important: It was in Jaffa where Christianity began to be spread among the nations. Here St. Peter lived in the house of Simon the Tanner and had the “Vision of the Flesh”, and here he made his first miracle by healing the little girl. Today Jaffa’s renovated alley-ways attract many artists, who have their galleries there. We will also make a tour through the pulsating city of Tel Aviv, paying attention to the “White City”, built in the early 20th Century “Bauhaus”-style, which made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the end of the day we visit Emmaus, where Jesus was seen at sunset after his resurrection. This biblical scenery is a suitable place to end our journey to the Holy Land! Over-night in Tel Aviv.