DAY 01 Sat . Jun . 10
Today we depart for our overnight flight to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, with a connection in Newark.
DAY 02 Sun . Jun . 11
Today we arrive in Tel Aviv early morning and proceed through passport control where our Wilcox World Travel and Tours representative will meet us at the baggage claim area. After we pick up our luggage, the representative will lead us to the airport exit where we will meet our guide, board our bus and begin our tour of the Holy Land. We start by driving north to the coast of Sharon where the baptism of the Gentiles began at Caesarea Maritima (Acts 10). We include the sunken harbor, the hippodrome, the theatre and the Roman aqueduct. Then we drive to Muhraka (“burnt offering”) on Mt. Carmel, with a panorama of the Plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon) (I Kings 18, the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal). We continue to Megiddo for the background of Armageddon (Revelation 16). Then we cross over to the Arbel cliff for a magnificent view over the Sea of Galilee and the sites of Jesus’ mission (Matthew 4). We continue to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and the next three overnights.
DAY 03 Mon . Jun . 12
TIBERIAS / A DAY ON THE SEA OF GALILEE
We drive up the Golan Heights for a panorama of the lake from the east. Then we cross over to the Mount of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7). Those who wish may walk down the hill to the lake, meeting the group at Tabgha where Christians have long remembered the first feeding of the multitude (Mark 6) and nearby, the breakfast of John 21. Then it is on to Capernaum, where Franciscan archaeologists believe they have uncovered the house of Peter (Mark 1 and 2). After lunch we will take a cruise on the lake in a wooden boat modeled on one from Jesus’ time (Matthew 14). We end the day with a visit to the modern baptismal site at the point where the Jordan River flows out of the lake.
DAY 04 Tue . Jun . 13
UPPER GALILEE AND TIBERIAS / THE SOURCES OF THE JORDAN
After breakfast, we make a brief stop at Hazor, the largest Canaanite city, for a view of Mount Hermon and its surroundings. We then drive to Dan where we combine a nature walk beside the Upper Jordan River with views of the ancient ruins, including the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (I Kings 12). A short drive then takes us to the spring of Caesarea Philippi (Banias), where Peter confessed his recognition of Jesus as Christ (Matthew 16). Here we will visit the stunning remains of a first-century AD palace belonging to Agrippa II. We drive around Mt. Hermon for a glimpse of Damascus, 45 miles away, then head back over the Golan Heights to our hotel on the Sea of Galilee.
DAY 05 Wed . Jun . 14
TIBERIAS / NAZARETH / JERICHO / JERUSALEM
After breakfast we will visit three major sites: Nazareth, Beth Shean, and Jericho. We start by driving up to Nazareth. On the way we stop at Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle (John 2). We continue on to nearby Nazareth. In Nazareth we may choose a visit to the spring of the ancient village; a walk through the bazaar over the site of the ancient village, visit the Church of the Annunciation and get a view from the “brow of the hill on which the city was built” (Luke 4), looking toward Mt. Tabor in the Jezreel Plain. We will cross the plain and descend through the Jezreel Valley to Beth Shean (aka Scythopolis). Here we shall climb the tel and view the setting for the death of Saul (I Samuel 28 - II Samuel 1). We shall then survey the magnificent Roman and Byzantine ruins: the theatre, bathhouses, ancient rest rooms, market areas, and colonnaded streets. We then drive through the Jordan valley to Jericho. At Jericho, we will visit the tel of this oldest city and view the traditional mountain of Jesus’ temptation. Ascending the Roman road along Wadi Qilt, we stop for a look at St. George’s Monastery. Finally, atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem and proceed to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 06 Thu . Jun . 15
JERUSALEM / MT. OF OLIVES / GETHSEMANE / THE OLD CITY
After breakfast we start on the Mt. of Olives with the Old City before us. After an orientation, we descend the traditional Palm Sunday Road to Dominus Flevit (“The Lord weeps”), remembering Jesus’ entry (Luke 19). We continue down to Gethsemane (Matthew 26) with a visit to the garden and the church for some quiet time. We then transfer trough Gehanna Valley to the Dung Gate. Just inside the gate we will have the opportunity to examine the ruins near the south side of the Temple complex, including steps where we may be certain that Jesus and the disciples walked. We then visit the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. We will ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam located on the traditional site of the ancient Temple Mount. We exit the Old City by the Dung Gate and the group will then descend the slope of the first Jerusalem (“City of David”) to the Gihon spring and proceed through Hezekiah’s tunnel, which led the water to a pool where city dwellers of old were safe from the Assyrian arrows. Walk down from Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. John 9 records the healing of the blind man by putting mud on his eyes and asking him to wash them away. Return back to the hotel for dinner anD overnight.
DAY 07 Fri . Jun . 16
SHRINE OF THE BOOK / MASADA / QUMRAN
We begin today at Bethany where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:17-44). We move on to Masada and climb into the cable car which takes us high above the wilderness mountain to the fortress built by King Herod. Here we survey the ruins of the fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples and palaces. After lunch we head back to Ein Gedi where David hid in a cave from King Saul (I Sam. 24:1). Later we stop at Qumran to understand the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls before we conclude the day with a float in the Dead Sea. Dinner and overnight at our Jerusalem hotel.
DAY 8 Sat . Jun . 17
– BETHLEHEM / CHRISTIAN JERUSALEM / FAREWELL DINNER.
TEarly this morning we drive south to the nearby Bethlehem region where our first stop will be at the Shepherds’ Field. Next we visit Bethlehem, walking through its alleys and markets to the Church of the Nativity. We drive back to Jerusalem and transfer to St. Stephen’s Gate to focus on Christian Jerusalem. Just inside the gate we find the Pool of Bethesda and St. Anne’s Church, perfectly preserved from the Crusader period with remarkable acoustics. We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) back as far as The Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We then walk to Jaffa Gate and continue past the Armenian Quarter and exit the Old City by Zion to visit the Upper Room. Continue to nearby grounds of a church called St. Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. From there we transfer to the Garden Tomb for a special visit and private communion. We conclude the day with a Middle Eastern farewell dinner at the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem before our final night in Jerusalem.
DAY 9 Sun . Jun . 18
BORDER CROSSING / BETHANY BEYOND JORDAN / MT. NEBO / MADABA /
Following breakfast we depart for the Jordan River and enter Jordan by way of the Allenby Bridge. After completing border formalities we’ll meet our Jordanian guide and board our vehicle to cross into the Kingdom of Jordan. Our first stop will be “Bethany across the Jordan”, the site of John the Baptist’s settlement at Bethany beyond the Jordan. This is the place that has been long known from the Byzantine and medieval texts and the Bible as the place of Jesus’ baptism (John 1:28 and 10:40). Next, we’ll view the Holy Land from Mt. Nebo, the traditional spot where Moses viewed the Promised Land. After you see the view and the Serpent of Moses (which is a monument on the top), we will walk to the church in Madaba that has been excavated and restored since 1933 by the Franciscans of Italy. Next, we travel to Machaerus which is a fortified hilltop palace. Our journey continues on the desert highway to the ancient red rock city of Petra. An evening spent next to Petra gives us the opportunity to watch the sun
DAY 10 Mon . Jun . 19
PETRA / DEAD SEA
After breakfast we go into the unique city of Petra, the ancient Edomite and Nabatean capital, and “Rose Red City half as old as time.” We will see the spectacular “city of the dead,” with its famed gorge, ancient streets, temples, dwelling places and tombs carved in solid rock. Our visit involves a twomile walk that includes the famous Siq (the natural gorge) to arrive at the Treasury. We can see temple ruins of the Roman city, the Nabatean Judgement Hall, palace tombs, famous Urn Temple and the Roman Amphitheater. A climb of several hundred steps to the “high places” might appeal to the adventurous. Later this afternoon we will proceed towards the Dead Sea for dinner and overnight.
DAY 11 Tue . Jun . 20
DEAD SEA / AMMAN / FAREWELL DINNER
Enjoy a relaxing morning at your hotel on the Dead Sea prior to check-out. We then make our way to Jerash. We’ll visit one of the most complete and best preserved Roman cities in the world. We’ll see colonnaded streets, the south theatre, and many Byzantine churches with beautiful mosaics. Afterwards we continue to Ajloun, the 12th-century castle built atop the ruins of a monastery between 1184 and 1188. Visitors can climb to the top of several towers for sweeping views of the Jordan Valley all the way to the Dead Sea. Later this afternoon we travel to Amman for a city tour and nearby sites including the Citadel, the Old Souk and Roman theater. We will have a chance to freshen up at the hotel. This evening we’ll enjoy a farewell dinner at Tawaheen Elhawa Restaurant before we drive to the airport for our late evening check in for our flight home, or, if you are taking the optional extension to Cairo, you will overnight in Amman, more details included in the attached flyer.
DAY 12 Tue . Feb . 21
Today we arrive back in the USA on our flight from Amman.