This 11 day tour starts and ends in Tel Aviv, Israel. It visits Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jordan has its primary focus on visiting religious and historical sites. Whilst it visits Tiberias, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth there is also time to explore Tel Aviv and its beaches, float in the Dead Sea and visit Sea of Galilee and Masada. In Jordan it visits Roman Ruins in Jerash, Petra, Biblical Mount Nebo and Madaba.
Welcome to Israel! Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel for the start of your trip. They'll help you settle in and introduce you to the local area.
Following a delicious Israeli buffet breakfast (which you will enjoy each morning prior to departing for your day of touring), depart Tel Aviv. Drive north along the coastal plain to Caesarea (Acts 9.30 Acts 10 24-48), capital of Judea under the Romans. Visit the excavations of this ancient city, the Roman theatre and aqueduct. Continue to Megiddo (1 Kings 4.28, 9,15, 2 Kings 23,29 & Revel. 16.16), identified as the site of Armageddon. Visit the archaeological excavations at Megiddo, including the well-preserved water supply system. Drive to the beautiful port city of Haifa, nestled on the Mediterranean Sea, for a panoramic view of the Bahai gardens and Haifa Bay. From Haifa continue to Acre (Micah 1.10), capital of the Crusaders for more than a century. Visit the ancient city and harbour before continuing eastwards across the plains of the Galilee to Kibbutz hotel Lavi, not far from the Sea Of Galilee.
After a short tour of the Kibbutz grounds we take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum (Matt. 4.13 13.54, 17.24, Luke 7, Mark 1.2, John 4.46-54). Visit the remains of the 2nd century synagogue. Proceed to Tabgha (Matt. 13, Mark .33-45, & John 21), the site of the miracle of fish and loaves, and visit the Church of Multiplication with its 4th century mosaic floor. Continue to the Mount of the Beatitudes (Matt. 5,6,7,8), where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Drive to the Banias Spring and Waterfall (Matt. 16.13 and Mark 8.27), where Jesus was recognized as The Messiah by His Disciples. Tour the Golan Heights, with its valleys, grazing land and snow capped mountains. Return to Kibbutz Lavi.
Begin the day with a drive to Nazareth (Luke 1.26, 4.16-29, Matthew 2.23) via Cana of Galilee (John 2.1-11). In Nazareth, we shall visit the Church of the Annunciation, St. Joseph's Workshop and Mary's Well. Next on our program is the Jordan River and the Baptismal site Yardenit. A baptism or rededication ceremony can be carried out here if you wish (advance booking required). Continue to Beit Shean, one of the ancient Decapolis cities (Mark 5.20, 7.31), and visit the Roman theatre. This is the city where Saul and his son Jonathan were nailed to the walls (1st Samuel 31.10). Judges 1.27 also mentions Beit Shean. Continue south along the shores of the River of Jordan. Passing Jericho, we proceed westward and climb to the Golden City of Jerusalem.
Today we visit the Old City of Jerusalem. Our appreciation of this Golden City begins with a panoramic view from the Mount of Olives, overlooking the walls of the old city and the ancient Jewish cemetery. Visit the Church of All Nations. Proceed to Mount Zion to see the tomb of King David and the nearby Room of the Last Supper (Mark 14.13, Luke 22. 10-38, Matt 26 17-29, Acts 1.13 and Acts 2 the Pentecost). Enter the Old City to begin exploring the wonders of Jerusalem. Walk through the Cardo, the main street of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. View the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Walk along the Via Dolorosa, where Jesus carried His Cross. Continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Matt. 27. 33-57, 28.10). No visit to Jerusalem is complete without a walk through the colourful Arab bazaar (a chance to test your negotiating skills). Visit the Garden Tomb.
Today's program is dedicated first to the new city of Jerusalem. Visit the model of ancient Jerusalem. Continue to Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Enter the site by walking along the Street of the Righteous Gentiles, dedicated to the non-Jews that risked their lives in order to save their Jewish neighbours. Continue to Ein Karem, birthplace of John the Baptist (Luke 1.39-80). This Spanish style church and Mary's well is where Mother Mary met her cousin Elizabeth. Next we cross into the Occupied Palestinian Territories and proceed to Bethlehem (subject to border restrictions) to visit the Church of the Nativity.
Drive through the Judean Desert to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls where found in 1947 by a Bedouin boy. Visit the ancient city of Qumran and drive along the shore of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, to Masada, the last stronghold of the Jews after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D. Ascend Masada by cable car and visit the food storeroom, water irrigation system and Herod's Palace. Time and weather permitting we will have an opportunity to float on the Dead Sea waters. Return to Jerusalem.
After breakfast in Israel we head to the border and cross into Jordan where our first visit will be to nearby Jerash, 'the Jewel of the North'. One of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside of Italy and is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Having been hidden for centuries in sand, evacuations restorations over the past 70 years have revealed a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates. Leaving Jerash behind, we'll head to the capital city Amman where we'll have time for a short city tour.
After an early breakfast in Amman today, we'll drive to Petra, the ancient capital of the Nabataean commercial empire until the Romans finally took over in 106AD. Petra was largely forgotten, except by the local Bedouins, until it was 'discovered' in 1812 by a young Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Petra is situated on the edge of Wadi Aruba, whose canyon walls and surrounding hills make it almost impossble to approach except through a narrow, winding cleft in the rock, called the Siq. The Nabateans chose to carve their homes, buildings and tombs into the multi-coloured sandstone cliffs.
This afternoon we take a guided tour, then free time to explore. We start by walking through the Siq. The ancient Nabatean water channel can still be seen on one wall, as well as some remnants of the terracotta pipes that brought water into the city. All of a sudden, a now classic view appears around one corner, and one of Petra's most impressive monuments, the Khazneh (Treasury) comes into view. From the Khazneh, the valley opens out, with tombs carved into the rock on both sides. We'll see the ruined Roman amphitheatre, and colonnaded street, and during your free time you can walk up a steep and narrow winding gorge past beautifully coloured sandstone cliff walls to the huge and imposing 'Monastery'. Another climb can take you to the High Place of Sacrifice, and Lion Fountain.
This morning we'll leave Petra behind and start our journey back into Israel. En-route we stop in Madaba and see the town's main attraction, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George where we'll see its famous 6th Century Byzantine mosaic map of the Holy Land and other biblical sites. We'll also enjoy great views of the Holy Land from Mt. Nebo, known as the burial place of the propher Moses. In the afternoon we'll cross the Jordan/Israel border and return to Tel Aviv where we'll be spending our final night.
After breakfast, your time is free until we pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your departure.