Day 1: Jerusalem
On this day, you will tour Jerusalem. Our tour guide will pick you from your hotel, enter the Old City through the Zion Gate, and pass the Armenian Quarter on your way to the Jewish Quarter and the Byzantine Cardo.
We stand above the Jewish cemetery on Mount Scopus we see the Old City and the Temple Mount where the Solomon’s Temple, destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, and the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE once stood.
We stop at the Kotel, the Western Wall where Jews have prayed since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Built by King Herod it was a supporting wall enclosing the enlarged Temple Mount area.
Exit the Old City via the market and the Jaffa Gate for a short tour of the new city.
Dinner and Overnight at reserved Hotel
Day 2: Bethlehem and Jericho
On this day, pick up from your hotel, drive south from Jerusalem in the direction of the Dead Sea on the way we pass the Inn of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) and continue on through the Biblical wilderness of the Judean Desert. Stop at the mark which indicates that we have reached “sea level” then proceed on to Jericho 258 meters below sea level. Tour most interesting parts of Bethlehem and Jericho.
Dinner and Overnight at reserved Hotel
Day 3: Jerusalem In the footsteps of Jesus
Start the day on the Mount of Olives, visit the Church of the Ascension. The church marks the spot where Jesus ascended to heaven and there is a rock with an imprinted footprint thought to be where Jesus stood before his ascension (Luke 24:50 – 51). The original church built here was in 390 but most of the chapel building we see today is from the Crusader period (1150).
From the Mount of Olives we look out over the City of Gold across the ancient Jewish cemetery and to the Old City and the Temple Mount beyond. We begin to descend the mount pausing at the Dominus Flevit (the Lord Wept). It was here that Christ cried as he envisioned the destruction of Jerusalem. The Dominus Flevit was designed by architect Antonio Berluzzi to resemble a teardrop. Through the window above the altar we can see the Old City where the Second Temple once stood.
We cross the Kidron Valley and arrive at the Lion’s Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. We see the pools of Bethesda as mentioned in the Gospel of John. We visit the Crusader Church of Saint Anne constructed above a grotto thought to be where Jesus’ mother Mary was born.
In the Convent of the Sisters of Zion we enter the cellars to see the water cistern dating back to the Second Temple. We see the Lithostratos, engraved Roman flagstones, which are part of extensive archaeological findings beneath the convent. It is believed that here Pontius Pilate stood in judgment of Jesus in the courtyard of Praetorium.
From here we set out along the Via Dolorosa retracing the route Jesus took as he carried his cross towards his crucifixion. We see some the Stations of the Cross where Jesus stopped along the Way of Sorrows. It was here that Jesus was crucified on Golgotha and Christ’s burial tomb is within the church. The vast Byzantine basilica has many alters and within the church are five of the Stations of the Cross.
Day 4: Nazareth, Tiberias and Sea of Galilee
We begin our day traveling north along the coastal road parallel to the Mediterranean sea. We turn inland and drive through the Valley of Armageddon; from here we can see Megiddo. On our way towards Nazareth we visit the Mt of Precipitation.
Nazareth we visit the Church of Annunciation which was constructed on the spot where Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would soon be with child (Luke 1:26). Next-door we find the Church of Saint Joseph where Jesus’ father, Joseph had his carpentry.
We depart Nazareth and travel to the Sea of Galilee on the way we pass Cana where Jesus turned water into wine. (John 2:1-12). At the bottom of Mount Beatitude we visit Capernaum on the shore of the Kinneret or Sea of Galilee. Here we see the home of Peter and the Church of the Multiplication. (Mark 6:30-44).
We travel along the waterfront of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus calmed the sea and walked on the water. (Mark 4:35-41), 6:45-52)Across the water we can see the Golan Heights forming a beautiful backdrop as we pass the city of Tiberius which was settled more than 2000 years ago and named after the Roman emperor Tiberius.
We reach the southern region of the Kinneret where the Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee and where Jesus was baptized. Here you may be able to participate in a baptismal ceremony in the very same spot that Jesus did so many years ago. (Mark 1:9-11)
As we head south on our return journey we can see Mount Tabor where the Transfiguration took place. (Matthew 17:1-9)