8 Days Special Pilgrimage - Holy Land
Day 1: Arrival to Tel Aviv
On arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, you will be met by your Tour Guide, proceed to your first class coach and transfer to your hotel in Tiberias for check-in for the next three nights, have dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Nazareth - Cana - Mt. Tabor
After Breakfast, we proceed to our first destination, Nazareth. We travel to the site of the Annunciation, where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to announce to her that she will become pregnant with Jesus Christ. We visit the house of Mary underneath the new Basilica and the house of Joseph nearby. We continue our tour through the old city of Nazareth and get a feel for the place where Jesus became a man (Matth. 2:23) and arrive at the well of Mary inside the Greek Orthodox Church. Next, we drive to the wedding site of Cana in Galilee where Jesus made his first miracle of changing water into wine (Jon. 2:1-11). We continue to drive to the foot of Mount Tabor and take smaller vehicles to reach the summit and visit the Church of the Transfiguration (Matth. 17:1-18). After some time enjoying the breathtaking panoramic view of the “Jezreel” Valley from the top of Mount Tabor, we return back to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Mount of Beatitudes - Sailing on the Sea of Galilee - Tabgha - Capernaum - Baptismal Site (Yardenit)
After an early breakfast, we drive to the Mount of Beatitudes to see the site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matth. 5), overlooking the Sea of Galilee from its northern shores and remembering the words of Christ “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God”. We continue to Tabgha, where Jesus made the miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes, feeding a crowd of over 5000 people, viewing the Byzantine art on the mosaic floor of the Church. Next, we continue by foot to the other side of Tabgha to St. Peter Primacy, the place where Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection; he dined with them and gave St. Peter his pastoral commission: “Feed my sheep (John. 21:15-19) And build my Church”. In the Church of St. Peter Primacy, we see the famous rock, the Mensa Christi. Later, we visit the site of Capernaum, the first Church built for the worship of God hidden away from the Romans in the house of Peter and the near by old synagogue. Our last destination for the day will be the Baptismal site on the Jordan River and then return back to our hotel in Tiberias for dinner and overnight. The day will include sailing on the Sea of Galilee in a wooden boat.
Day 4: Haifa - Caesarea - Tel Aviv & Jaffa - Ein Karem
After breakfast and check out, we continue on our journey to the city of Haifa, taking a drive up Mount Carmel where the contest between monotheism and paganism is alleged to have taken place. There we visit Stella Maris Church and view the Shrine and Gardens from the top of Mount Carmel. After enjoying the breathtaking views of the Gardens and the expansive port of Haifa with the Mediterranean in the distance, we continue on our tour towards our next destination, Caesarea Maritime, along the sea road - Via Maris. We stop by the ancient aqueduct of Caesarea, a tiny fishing village that was transformed into a world-class port by King Herod between the years 22 BC and 10 BC. Herod spent a fortune building a mini Rome equipped with a Theater, Hippodrome, the second largest port in the Roman Empire and Roman Aqueduct which Herod named Caesarea after Augustus Caesar hoping to seek approval of the new emperor of Rome.
Next we drive along the Mediterranean Sea through the cities of Netanya, Hertzilya and pass through Tel Aviv (The White City as named by UNESCO) to get to ancient Jaffa (New Testament Joppa), the oldest port in the region where the Apostle Peter had a vision whilst sitting on the rooftop of the house of Simon the Tanner and received God’s command to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. We enjoy some time walking through the old city of Jaffa and then drive towards the suburbs of Jerusalem to the village of Ein Kerem and tour the area where the Virgin Mary came to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who at the time was pregnant with John the Baptist (LK. 1:39-80) after which we make our way to Jerusalem for check in to our hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Mount of Olives - Bethlehem
After breakfast, our tour begins on the top of the Mount of Olives with a visit to the Chapel of the Ascension - the place believed to be where Jesus ascended up to heavens 40 days after the resurrection; on to the Pater Noster (Eliona Church) - the place believed to be where Jesus taught the disciples the ‘Our Father’ which you see in 154 languages on ceramic art around the walls of the Church; and on to the panoramic view of the city of Jerusalem.
After spending time taking in the view we descend the Mount of Olives via the Palm Sunday Road to visit the Church of Dominus Flevet - where Jesus is believed to have wept over the city and prophesized of its coming destruction. We continue on to the Gardens of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations - where Jesus prayed on the night he was betrayed, the place of the agony and betrayal (LK. 22:40-46).
From the Mount of Olives we head south on the Hebron road - the way Abraham used over 3000 years ago. We make a stop at the top of the Jerusalem promenade to see the breathtaking view of the city from the south and continue towards Bethlehem (city of Bread and/or city of Meat), the royal city of David. We pass by Rachel’s Tomb to the Church of the Nativity – the birthplace of Jesus - and visit the Grotto, the star of Bethlehem, the Manger and St. Catherine’s Church.
From Manger Square we drive southeast to the village of Beit Sahour to visit the Shepherds Fields - where the Angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds to announce the birth of the Savior (LK. 2:8-18) and the Maggi Kings passed by, chasing the star that was the sign of the birth of Jesus. We return back to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
Day 06: Old City - Via Dolorosa - Western Wall - Mt. Zion
After breakfast, our day begins by Lions Gate (St. Stephen’s Gate) where we enter the old city from the east at the lowest point of the city. We start with a visit to the Bethesda Pool and Saint Anne’s Church, continuing to the Antonia Fortress the stronghold of Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator at the time of Jesus. The Chapel of Condemnation and the Chapel of Flagellation are situated in the same area as the original fortress near to the site of the 1st station on the Via Dolorosa (the way of the cross). We walk along the Via Dolorosa for the next 13 stations, 9 of which are outside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the remaining 5 are inside the Church, the 14th station being the tomb of Jesus.
From the Holy Sepulcher, we visit the Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism and walk out of the old city through Dung Gate to take our coach to Mount Zion, on the western side of the Kidron Valley to visit the house of the high priest Caiaphas. Here lies the site of the prison of Jesus and the Church of St. Peter In Galicantu, commemorating the place where Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. We also visit the Last Supper room (Cennaclium), the tomb of King David and the Dormition Abbey Church. We return back to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Masada - Qumran - Dead Sea Float - Jericho
After an early breakfast, we leave Jerusalem heading east towards the Jordan Valley. Descending from around 845 meters above sea level (on the Mount of Olives) down to zero sea level where we stop for a souvenir photo by the famous Dead Sea zero level sign. We continue to road no.90 and head south with the azure blue Dead Sea on our left. We reach 350 meters below sea level, the lowest spot on earth, and commence our scenic one-hour drive to Masada along the Dead Sea road with magnificent views of the sea and neighboring Jordan to the east. On arrival at the site of Masada we watch a 10-minute presentation show in the visitors center showing you the major attractions of the site and then take the cable car up to the mountain plateau for a visit of the site that includes breathtaking views of the Dead Sea, Jordan and Israel.
After our tour of Masada, we continue to Qumran (viewing the AHAVA cream factory on the way) to visit the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by chance by a simple Bedouin herding his goats. After we explore Qumran and finish our buffet lunch on the site, we spend some time on a private beach where we have the option of covering ourselves with the world famous Dead Sea mud and relax with a float on salty Dead Sea, the lowest spot on Earth.
From there we head to Jericho, the final destination of this tour, where we visit the most ancient continuously inhibited city in the world (approximately 10,000 years old) where we view the sycamore tree and the famous mount of Temptation (Mt.Qarantal) before returning back to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
Day 8: Departure from Ben Gurion airport
Check out and transfer to Ben Gurion airport.