Arrival at the Ben Gurion Airport, and greeting by your Israeli Guide who will then drive you to the pulsating city of Tel Aviv. Time permitting; we walk in the old city of Jaffa, one of the ancient gateways to the Holy Land. Today Jaffa’s romantic alley-ways attract many artists, who have their galleries there. Then we drive up the wood-covered Judean Hills to the Holy City – Jerusalem! Overnight in Jerusalem.
We start our tour with a panoramic view of the holy city, Jerusalem, from the Mount of Olives. A leisurely walk takes us down, through the holy Jewish cemetery, to the “Garden of Gethsemane” with its “Church of all Nations” and ancient Olive trees, almost 2000 years old! We continue to the “Wailing Wall”, the last remnants of the holy Jewish Temple, and, conditions permitting, visit the Temple Mount itself, where we can see the Muslim Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. Then we walk through the colorful “Suq” (Bazaar) and follow the different stations of the “Via Dolorosa”, the “Way of the Cross” according to Christian tradition. The Way of the Cross ends at the “Church of the Holy Sepulcher”, built traditionally on the site where Jesus was crucified and buried. In the afternoon we visit Mt. Zion with King David’s Tomb and the Place of the Last Supper. Overnight Jerusalem.
This day is dedicated to the New City of Jerusalem. We visit Yad Vashem, the memorial of the Holocaust, and then the famous “Menorah” (Candelabra) located in front of the “Knesset”-Building, housing Israel’s Parliament. At the “Israel Museum,” we visit the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. This is a 1:50 scale model of the city, as it was during one of its most important periods, when Judaism and Christianity, as we know them today, started to evolve. The model is built from the original materials and is updated according to the most recent archaeological researches. We will also visit the “Shrine of the Book”, where the “Dead Sea Scrolls” are exhibited. In the afternoon we take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque village Ein Karem, where according to local tradition John the Baptist was born. Overnight Jerusalem.
We drive down to the Dead Sea, the deepest place on earth, and climb (by cable-car…) the famous cliff-fortress of Masada, where Herod the Great built a magnificent palace in the middle of the desert. Masada was then used as a fortress by the Jewish “Zealots” who fought, few against many, against the pagan Roman Empire. Their heroic struggle became a symbol for the modern State of Israel. We walk through the Oasis of Ein Gedi, known since the days of King David. Ein Gedi, where four springs with fresh water meet the desert sun, is a place to enjoy the rich and unique flora and fauna that such an oasis can offer. We walk to the waterfall and back to the bus. We will not miss, of course, some floating (not swimming!) on the Dead Sea, famous for its healing qualities. Overnight Jerusalem.
Now it’s time to leave Jerusalem and head up north. We drive along the Jordan Valley to the Land of Galilee and then up a steep road to the top of Mt. Tabor. The magnificent view from this mountain made it a holy place since early Biblical times. The Christian tradition places here the miracle of the Transfiguration, commemorated by a special church built by the genius architect Antonio Berluzzi. We continue to Nazareth, where we visit the glorious Basilica of the Annunciation, built in the 20th Century according to the most modern representation of the Catholic Church. The Basilica houses dozens of specially-designed icons of Mary, representing Catholic communities from all over the world. Time permitting; we can renew our romantic relationships in one of the churches of Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle by turning water into wine at a wedding. Overnight in Tiberias or Nazareth.
We drive up to Upper Galilee for a visit of Tzefat (Safed), the center of Jewish Mysticism – Kabbalah. We breathe its special, spiritual atmosphere, listen to its many legends, and visit some of its enchanted synagogues. Safed’s special spiritual atmosphere brought inspiration to many artists, who have their galleries there, and like to talk to you about the mystical meaning of their art. After driving through a landscape of scattered Arab villages, where Christians, Druze, and Moslems live together, we arrive at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to the ancient port-city of Acco (Acre). During thousands of years this city has maintained its character, and there are a lot of extraordinary well-preserved sites in Acco, which made it a “UNESCO World Heritage Site”. Here we will visit the “Knights Halls” that was built by the Crusaders and stayed underground, preserved fully, up to their roofs!! We will also visit the Turkish “Hammam” (Bath) where we will hear the “Last Bath-Attendant” telling us the History of the City through its Legends and Myths… We shall also visit the colorful oriental Bazaar, with its odors and colors of the East, the ancient port, and more. Overnight in Tiberias or Nazareth.
At the beginning of this day we visit the sites of Jesus’ ministry Around the Sea of Galilee: On the “Mt. of Beatitudes,” we can enjoy the special church built by the Italian architect Berluzzi, as well as the wide view over the Sea of Galilee. We also visit the archaeological excavations of Capernaum, “The Town of Jesus”, with St. Peter’s House and its well-known Synagogue. We will also see the reconstructed Church of the Multiplication with its very unique mosaic-floor, dating back to the 6th Century. On the slopes of the Golan Hights, we visit the Banias National Park, a unique combination of a Roman City with Temples built in the woods right on top of the rich Banias Springs, which are one of the three sources of the Jordan River. In Roman times this place was called Caesarea Philippi, the place where Jesus made Simon into Petrus. On Mt. Bental, a non-active Volcano, we have a wide view over the area which enables us to understand its geography, and how it affected the recent events. Overnight Tiberias or Nazareth.
After breakfast, we set out to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge, where our representative will help you with the border formalities before you cross the Jordan River into the Kingdom of Jordan. Here you will meet our Jordanian guide, who will take care of you from now on. We drive to Jerash, a well-preserved Greco-Roman city, one of the “Deca Polis” – an alliance of the richest cities of the region in classic times. A drive along the ancient “King’s Highway”, mentioned already in the Old Testament, brings us to Madaba. Here, in the Greek-Orthodox church, we can see the famous 6th-century mosaic floor showing the Holy Land just it was more than 15 centuries ago! We continue to Mt. Nebo, from which Moses could see the Promised Land, but was never allowed to enter. Besides the view that also Moses saw, Mt. Nebo is also famous for the colorful mosaics, also dating back to Byzantine days. At the end of the day, we reach Jordan’s capital – Amman. After a short tour of some of its ancient and modern sites, we arrive at the hotel where we spend the night. Overnight in Amman.
This whole day is dedicated to “The Rose Red City”, Petra, recently declared one of the new “Seven Wonders of the World”. Petra is cut out of the sandstone by the ancient Nabateans, a nomad people who used this site as their religious and political capital, and as a center for the caravans on the “Incense Road”. We start walking through the narrow “Siq” (gorge) until we suddenly see the famous monument the Bedouins call “Hazane” – Pharao’s Treasury! From the “Treasury” we enter the central valley of the “Lost City”, where we visit some more of its ancient monuments, such as “The Colonaded Street”; “Pharao’s Daughter Temple”, the Theater, and more. At the end of the day, we will drive back to Amman, where we also spend this night. Overnight in Amman.
Transfer to the Queen Alia International Airport for your flight back home, or you can continue with an extension to Egypt. (see Egypt extension)
Transfer to the Queen Alia International Airport for your flight to Cairo. After your landing in Cairo, you will be received by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day will be free at your own disposition. We will be happy to offer you of the variety of attractions this city has to offer, such as the “Sound and Light Show”, a Belly-Dancer, smoking water-pipe in one of the restaurants or café’s, and much more. Overnight in Cairo.
We will start with the most famous sites in Cairo: The Pyramids of Giza, including the famous Sphinx (still silent…). Then we drive back to Cairo to take a look at the “Egyptian Museum” (the tour does not include the Mummies Room). Here a vast treasure of numerous objects made of gold, bronze, alabaster, silver and more from Egypt’s most glamorous times are exhibited. Then we drive to visit the Cairo Citadel built by Saladin, with its known “Alabaster Mosque”. You will spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure to stroll on your own through the famous market-area of Khan el Khalili. Overnight in Cairo.
Today we drive to SAKKARA, the ancient “Necropolis” of the Old Kingdom’s Capital, Memphis, where we will visit a few pyramids and tombs, among them the known “Step Pyramid”, the oldest known Pyramid. This place is also known for its great temples, and the giant statue of Ramses the Second.
Overnight in Cairo.
A luxury 2 nights Nile Cruise, which will take you, among other places, to Aswan, where you will be able to see the Great Aswan Damm, and the Abu Simbel Temple which was completely moved to a new location in order to prevent it from being flooded by the lake created by the Aswan Damm. On day 15, at the end of the cruise, you will be transferred to the Airport for your flight back home.