Highlights: Joppa, Caesarea, Sea of Galilee, The Sources of the Jordan, Nazareth, Jacob’s Well, Dead Sea, Masada, Ein Gedi, The Western Wall, Jerusalem
***Please make sure to complete the registration form once you have paid your deposit. You are not officially signed up until we have received that information.***
Note: Travel Insurance is available upon request. Quotes are based on age and state of residence.
***Click on the highlighted words to learn more about some of the places you will be visiting.***
DAY 01 – TUE. FEB. 18 – DEPARTURE USA
Today we depart our home cities for our overnight flight to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, with a connection in Newark.
DAY 02 – WED. FEB. 19 – ARRIVAL BEN GURION AIRPORT / JOPPA / CAESAREA / TIBERIAS
After clearing customs, we will be met by your representative who will assist you with your luggage and direct you to your bus and meet you guide. Start your tour of the Holy land by driving along a scenic drive through Joppa, the oldest port in the world. We walk through the Old City of Jaffa through the artist quarter. We then drive north through the modern city of Tel Aviv through the Sharon Valley to Caesarea Maritima. You will see the sunken harbor, the hippodrome, the theatre and the Roman aqueduct. Then drive along the Via maris – The Way by the Sea, to Muhraka (“burnt offering”) on Mt. Carmel and have a short hike to Muhraka Church and go up to its roof to have a magnificent panorama of the Plain of Jezreel (Esdraelon). After surveying the Plain of Jezreel, you will proceed towards Tiberias and end the day at the Arbel Cliff. Drive down to the city of Tiberias and check into your hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 03 – THU. FEB. 20 – AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
Drive up to The Mount of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7) and hike down the hill to the lake and go to Tabgha. Continue walking to nearby Capernaum where Franciscan archaeologists believe they have uncovered the house of Peter (Mark 1 and 2). We then drive the northern end of the Sea of Galilee heading east and stop at Beth Saida, which is the fishing village of the Gospels. Continue driving around the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee heading south to Ein Gev where you can stop for a St. Peter’s Fish lunch. After lunch drive further south to Kursi in the “Gergesa” of Matthew’s Gospel where the evangelist locates the miracle of the swine. Then drive full circle around the lake and stop at a location where the Jordan River exits south from the Sea of Galilee and heads down the Jordan Valley. We end our day at the modern Baptismal site of the Yardenit before heading back to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 04 – FRI. FEB. 21 – THE SOURCES OF THE JORDAN
Ascend the Golan Heights today, the biblical Bashan and ancestral home of the half-tribe of Manassah and in Jesus’ day, part of the territory of Herod Philip. Stop for an overview of Gamla, also known as “Massada of the north”. Drive along Israel’s border with Syria and stop at the Kuneitra overlook. Visit Tel Dan, one of the most important biblical mounds in the country. Continue to Caesarea Philippi, now known as Banias. As at Dan, you’ll also enjoy the natural beauty of Banias nestled on the flourishing banks of one the Jordan’s main tributaries. We end our day with an hour on the lake in a wooden boat modeled on one from Jesus’ time. (Mathew 14)
DAY 05 – SAT. FEB. 22 – LOWER GALILEE AND THE BIBLICAL HEARTLAND / NAZARETH / MEGIDDO / JACOB’S WELL / JERICHO / DEAD SEA
This morning, we drive to Nazareth. On the way we stop at Cana for a visit. Proceed to Nazareth, to get acquainted with Jesus’ home town. Visit the Grotto of the Annunciation, St. Joseph’s workshop, and explore the magnificent Basilica of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well, and the Church of the Old Synagogue. We drive up to Mt. Precipe (Luke 4:14-30). Next, we cross the Valley of Jezreel to the ancient Har-Megiddo or Ar-mageddon. This afternoon, we continue through the Jezreel west and then drive south by the Harod’s Spring down through the Dotan Valley, and pass Samaria, Ahab’s capital at Nablus (Shechem). We visit the mound of the ancient’s city located between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerezim. We stop at nearby Jacob’s Well, site of Jesus conversation with a Samaritan woman. We then drive through the lovely valley of Bidan and down Wadi Fariah, the pass-through which Jacob (and probably his grandfather before him entered the promised land). At Jericho, we visit the Tel of this oldest city and view the traditional mountain of Jesus’ temptation. Continuing south driving towards the Dead Sea and then along the western shores of the Dead Sea to Ein Bokek where we check into our hotel along the shores of the Dead Sea for dinner and overnight.
DAY 06 – SUN. FEB. 23 – MASADA / EIN GEDI / QUMRAN / JERUSALEM
Our day tour begins with driving to nearby Masada. We ascend by cable car to reach the mountain top site of Masada. After exploring the archaeological ruins of Masada with our guide, we will return to the base and drive to our next stop at Ein Gedi. We enter the nature reserve of Ein Gedi, rich in flora and fauna, and walk to a lovely waterfall. Retracing our way north along the shores of the Dead Sea we stop at the ancient settlement of Qumran. Here we will have the opportunity to view the many caves where approximately 900 parchment documents of religious significance were discovered – the fabled Dead Sea Scrolls. Further north, we connect with the Jerusalem/Jericho highway. Ascending the Roman road along Wadi Qilt, stop for a look at picturesque desert monastery of St. George’s built deep in the gorge of Wadi Kelt. Passing the Good Samaritan Inn on the way, we finally get atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem.
DAY 07 – MON. FEB. 24 – JERUSALEM
Today we will start on the Mt. of Olives with the Old City tilted toward 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 (Matthew26) with a visit to the garden and the church where we will have some quiet time. We then drive to the church grounds called Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. Here, the Assumptionist Fathers propose, was the house where the High Priest Caiaphas interrogated Jesus. Driving south to the Bethlehem region passing Rachel’s Tomb on the outskirts of Bethlehem, we go to Shepherds’ Fields. We then visit Bethlehem, where we will walk through its alleys and markets to the Church of the Nativity. From there we drive back to Jerusalem and return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 08 – TUE. FEB. 25 – THE ARCHAEOLOGIY OF JERUSALEM AND THE NEW CITY
We begin with a modern tunnel that enables us to examine the length of the outer Herodian Temple wall. We then 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 may then descend the slope of the first Jerusalem (“City of David”) to the Gihon spring, and view the knee-high water through Hezekiah’s tunnel. We then motor to West Jerusalem passing by the Knesset to the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in Qumran, and the Israel Museum, including the outdoor model of Jerusalem as the city may have looked in 66 AD. We end our day at Yad Vashem the Holocaust Memorial.
DAY 09 – WED. FEB. 26 – DAY IN AND AROUND THE OLD CITY
We transfer to Dung Gate where just inside, we walk up to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. We view the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam. Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church. We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) back as far as the Holy Sepulcher. From there we walk through the Arab Souks, past the Armenian Quarter and exit the Old City through the Mt. Zion Gate to visit the Upper Room and King David’s Tomb on the grounds of Mt. Zion. From there we take the bus to the Garden Tomb. We get together for our farewell dinner before we transfer down to Ben Gurion Airport for our late flight back home.
DAY 10 – THU. FEB. 27 – ARRIVE USA.
Today we arrive back in the USA on our flight from Tel Aviv.