Arrival in Tel Aviv. You will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. Once you have checked in there will be time to relax.
TEL AVIV/TIBERIAS B/L
Journey north to the ancient Roman city of Caesarea, the capital of Judea under the Romans. Visit the excavations including the Roman Theater, 2000 year old aqueduct and the harbor from which Paul was taken to Rome. Drive up the Mediterranean coast to Haifa and Mt. Carmel to see the small Carmelite Church of Stella Maris overlooking the Bay of Haifa. Next is Mukhraka where Elijah challenged the 450 false Prophets.
After a falafel lunch in a Druze village continue to the Zebulun and Armageddon Valleys. In the Jezreel Valley we find Megiddo where excavations have unearthed 26 layers of civilization. Also known as King Solomon’s “Chariot City”, view the remains of the stables and the subterranean water system that was hewn into the rock in the western part of the city. See the Valley of Armageddon, site of the final war of the world before continuing to Nazareth, one of the holiest cities in Israel.
Visit the Church of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well where the Archangel Gabriel told Mary of the impending birth and the Synagogue where Jesus first studied the Bible. Pause in Cana, site of Jesus’ First Miracle turning water into wine at a Wedding Feast before proceeding to the resort town of Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee for overnight.
This morning follow the Sea of Galilee exploring the early ministry of Jesus. Begin with a cruise on the tranquil waters of the Sea of Galilee then continue to Capernaum, considered to be the headquarters of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee. Explore the ruins of the old Synagogue and the modern Franciscan Church with its glass floor built over the ruins of the traditional House of Peter.
Enjoy a traditional St. Peter’s fish lunch before heading to Tabgha, site of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. Visit the Church of the Multiplication before continuing to the Church of St. Peter’s Primacy on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee considered to be the place where Jesus appeared the fourth time after His resurrection.
Between Tabgha and Capernaum we stop at the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the famous Sermon on the Mount consisting of 9 verses each starting with “Blessed are the”. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. Time permitting drive to the Golan Heights to visit a former Syrian bunker. Return to Tiberias for overnight.
TIBERIAS/DEAD SEA B
Drive south to the Baptismal site of Yardenit on the sacred Jordan River where pilgrims dressed in white robes stand in the water waiting to receive a blessing. NOTE: To be baptized a white baptismal robe is required and can be purchased or rented at the souvenir shop at Kibbutz Kinneret.
Head to Beit She’an once known as Scythopolis to see the archaeological remains, the Hippodrome, the Roman Theater and a typical Roman Cardo connecting the upper city with the Forum and Marketplace. Continue through the lush Jordan Valley along the Jordan River to Jericho, the oldest city on earth. Skirting the Dead Sea arrive in Qumran where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. Pass the Ein Gedi Oasis where David hid in a cave when running from Saul.
Next is Masada, King Herod’s mountaintop fortress, the last stronghold of the Jewish zealots in their rebellion against Rome. Reach the top by cable car to view the fortifications, the Palaces, synagogue and the bath house. Descend by cable car and continue to your hotel at the Dead Sea for overnight.
DEAD SEA/JERUSALEM B
The morning is free for relaxation, reflection or just to enjoy floating in the Dead Sea, the lowest and saltiest lake on earth. Our first stop is in Beersheba, the city of Abraham and capital of the Negev to see Abraham’s Well and the Negev Museum in a former Governors’ Mansion. Thirty kilometers north of Beersheba is Tel Arad where 18 years of excavations have unearthed remains located in two separate areas from two distinct periods. Continuing via the Negev Desert to the Ela Valley, described in the Bible as the place where the Israelites were encamped during the famous battle of David and Goliath. Pass Bet Shemesh, the most important Israelite city in the Soreq Valley and the ancient town of Emmaus just outside the Holy City of Jerusalem where Jesus appeared after His resurrection. Our day ends on arrival in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
JERUSALEM OLD CITY/ BETHLEHEM* B
Spend the day exploring the sites of the Holy City beginning at the Mount of Olives with its breathtaking view over the Old City stopping in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus spent the night before His arrest by the Romans. See the 2,000 year old olive trees, the Basilica of Agony (Church of All Nations) and Mary’s Tomb before entering the Old City. Continue past the Wailing Wall (Western Wall), a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple Courtyard, the Temple Mount site of the El Aqsa Mosque marking Jerusalem as one of the three holy cities of Islam and the spectacular Dome of the Rock from which the Prophet Mohamed ascended to heaven.
See the Church of St. Anne marking the start of the Via Dolorosa and the Pool of Bethesda amongst the most famous of Jesus’ miracles where Jesus healed the paralytic at the Bethesda Pool. Walk the Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Next is the Jewish Quarter, one of the four traditional quarters of the Old City, the Cardo, lined with shops and vendors once serving as the hub of economic life and the excavations at the Herodian Quarter. Continue to Zion Gate and Mt. Zion to visit the Upper Room (Cenacle) and the traditional Tomb site of King David. In the afternoon visit Bethlehem*, birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth and center of pilgrimage for Christians.
Visit Rachel’s Tomb, burial place for the matriarch Rachel, Shepherd’s Field, identified as the fields where the shepherds saw the Star of the Nativity, the Church of the Nativity, marking the traditional place of the birth of Christ, the Grotto, a cavern beneath the church entered by a flight of steps beside the church altar and St. Catherine’s Church built on the site of Christ’s appearance to St. Catherine of Alexandria before returning to Jerusalem for overnight.
JERUSALEM NEW CITY B
Our tour of the New City begins in Givat Ram at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. Nearby is the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book housing the Dead Sea Scrolls. Adjacent to the Shrine is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period based on a 1:50 scale. On the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance is Yad Vashem, the somber and moving memorial dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Southwest of Jerusalem is the village of Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist where you will find St. John’s Church which includes the cave believed to have been the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth. Also see the Church and Convent of the Sisters of Zion Monastery of John the Baptist near the cave where he lived a life of solitude. Time permitting plant a tree in the Jerusalem Forest before returning to your hotel.
JERUSALEM/TEL AVIV B
Transfer to Tel Aviv to the airport for your departure flight.
Tour is based on a minimum of 20 participants. A similar programm can be custom tailored for individual besed on upgrated hotels and sightseeing by pravite car.
LAND TOUR INCLUDES
All airport transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary
Hotel accommodation based on double occupancy in hotels specific or similar.
Meals as specified (B-Breakfast; L-Lunch; D-Dinner)
English speaking local guides
Entrance fees to the monuments outlined
Airfare, taxes, meals not specified, insurance, gratuities
*Site is under the Palestinian Jurisdiction Authority. Visit is subject to confirmation.