A word from travelers that did this tour.
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DAY 1 – Transfer airport to Tel Aviv and walking tour in Jaffa
Jaffa (English) and Yafo (Hebrew) is an ancient city dating back thousands of years. Its soothing, picturesque streets wind into oriental bazaars, charming old-world shops, and quaint cafes to take in a relaxing coffee.
A short walking distance from the town center is Jaffa harbor, which, already 3 millennia ago, was considered the most important maritime harbor in the world and is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments.
This engaging city boasts numerous points of interest. Christian sites include the church of St. Peter located in Kedumim Square and Simon the Tanner’s house. The biblical Jonah story took place at Jaffa. Additional highlights include archeological remains of a stele with Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Jaffa Clock Tower dating to Ottoman times, the lookout point of Summit Garden and a famous Flea Market.
DAY 2 – Caesarea – Haifa – Akko – Nazareth – Magdala
Barely an hour’s drive north of Tel Aviv, lies the coastal pearl of a town known as Caesarea.
Caesarea was previously a little-known ancient harbor, before Herod the Great brought it to fame in the Roman Empire. Through meticulous urban planning, he created an extraordinary city luxuriously filled with bathhouses, amphitheaters, an odeon and theater, as well as living quarters decorated with splendid mosaics. Its streets were once home to the products of oriental trade, including spices, precious fabrics, gems, and a variety of foods and wines. Herod built for himself a sumptuous and enormous palace, most of which is now in ruins. During its heyday, Caesarea was a major tourist destination for Roman citizens.
After his death, the city and its harbor fell into disrepair. Despite the deterioration, visitors cannot help but be awed by the breadth of Herod’s accomplishments of two thousands years ago. Within the National Park, several restaurants offer breathtaking views of the once great harbor.
BAHAI GARDENS HAIFA
The world’s longest hillside gardens are to be found in Haifa’s Baha’i Complex, home to the headquarters of the Baha’i religion – Golden-domed Baha’i Shrine of Bab and the palatial Seat of the Universal House of Justice . The Shrine contains the tomb of Siyyid Ali Muhammed – the Bab – a Muslim in Persia who proclaimed the coming of a „Promised One“ in 1844
UNESCO designated Akko as one of Israel’s 10 Heritage Sites. Over thousands of years Akko was conquered by such groups as the Crusaders, Mamluks, and the Ottomans, who left behind remnants of their cultures and religions. Consequently, Akko’s range of fascinating sites includes tunnels, churches, a Turkish bath house, the magnificent mosque of el-Jazaar and the traditional local market.
Today it is considered a perfectly preserved ancient port city overlooking the Mediterranean.
Bustling Lower Galilee city of Nazareth, where we will visit The Catholic Church of the Annunciation, also known as the Basilica of the Annunciation, the most impressive and spectacular site in the city. According to Catholic tradition, this Church is placed where the house of the Virgin Mary once stood, and where angel Gabriel appeared to her and announced that she would conceive and bear the Son of God, Jesus.
DAY 3 – Magdala – Sea of Galilee – sites of Jesus Ministry – Golan Heights Winery – Magdala
Tabgha – Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter
The name is an Arabic mispronunciation of the original Greek Heptapegon („seven springs’ ‘). Five springs are still discernible but they are salty, which may explain why the area never attracted large-scale settlement. One tradition has it that Job was healed of his ills in these therapeutic springs. But Tabgha is more famous in Christian tradition as the site of the multiplication of the loaves and fish. In memory of this extraordinary event, a small chapel was built here in the 4th century but was replaced by a large monastery and church in the 5th. The complex has been excavated and restored, parts of the original resplendent mosaic floors on which animals and plants are represented with an incredibly refined sense of color and workmanship, are enclosed in the new Church of the Multiplication. The Benedictine order’s monastery in Tabgha is flanked by the Franciscan Church of the Primacy of Saint Peter, where Christ is said to have reappeared to his disciples for the third time after Resurrection, when he tested and commissioned Peter as leader of his Church (John 21).
On this mountain stands the Church of the Beatitudes, the name of which recalls the Sermon on the Mount during which Jesus intoned the Lord’s Prayer as reported in the Gospel according to Mathew. The current church, on an octagonal plan, was designed by A. Barluzzi. From this high point you have an enchanting vista of the northern part of the Sea of Galilee and of the Golan Heights on the other side.
A fishing village where Christ went to live after he left Nazareth, is located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee near the ancient Via Maris route to Syria. The Gospels contain many passages about Jesus‘ teachings and miracles in Capernaum. Evidence of the town’s splendor in historical times can be seen in the ancient synagogue, one of the earliest and best preserved of the Galilean temples.
Mount Bental is a volcanic mountain in the Golan Heights, with the crater between it and adjacent Mount Avital (with its Israeli military intelligence collection equipment). Its height is 1 170 meters above sea level and from its top one can enjoy stunning views of Mount Hermon (3 000 meters above sea level), several Druze villages as well as a network of old bunkers and trenches and to the east is Syria, with Damascus lying just 60km away.
Golan Heights Winery, Katzrin
Israel’s leading producer of quality wines, established in 1983 by local kibbutzim and moshavim. Here in the Golan Heights, in this breathtaking strip of land, everything begins with the right conditions – volcanic basaltic soil, suitable topography and cool high-altitude climate. This unique combination is what gives the Golan Heights its second name – „wine country“. The Golan Heights Winery markets its wines under four leading brands – Yarden, Gamla, Mount Hermon and Golan.
DAY 4 – Magdala – Gesher – Beth She’an – Jericho – Jerusalem
Kibbutz Gesher, originally founded by Latvian members of Hashomer in 1924 and named Ashdot Ya’akov, is today home to a unique testimony of one man’s vision and determination which stood up against all odds . Entrepreneur venture called Naharaim – the First Jordan Hydro-Electric House.
Ancient tel of Bet She’an, reflecting 6000 years of civilization with 18 archeological strata dating from 3500 BCE to the Arab era have been explored. The city was located on an extremely important communications artery. The ruins on the tel include a Canaanite temple and as well as evidence of conquest by Pharaoh Thutmose III. Or Assyrian conquest. Here sits one of Israel’s best-preserved Roman theaters, which once seated 8000; and there is an archeological museum featuring a Byzantine mosaic floor. Beit She’an was once a member of the Roman Decapolis, meaning that it was one of the 10 most important cities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Other structures here include a colonnaded street, Byzantine-era baths, a nymphaeum and Roman amphitheater.
Jericho is one of the earliest continuous settlements in the world, dating perhaps from about 9000 BCE. The city’s site is of great archaeological importance; it provides evidence of the first development of permanent settlements and thus of the first steps towards civilization. The walls of Jericho were tumbling down on the seventh day after they were encircled by Joshua and the Children of Israel and in the stark wilderness outside this town, Jesus was tempted by the devil on a peak the New Testament calls the Mount of Temptation (Qarantal)
Touring Jericho and Bethlehem
Bethlehem and Jericho (and other cities in the West Bank) are located in solely Palestinian controlled territory. Unfortunately, due to Palestinian and Israeli law, most Israeli Tour Guides are currently prohibited from entering and operating in these territories. No Israeli tour guides are insured to guide these areas. While some tour companies and private tour guides choose to ignore this law, AmazingJerusalem provides legal and , we believe , excellent alternatives by arranging tours of these cities with our partner Palestinian guides and agents. These Palestinian guides and agents are pillars of the Palestinian community and are well regarded and respected in their societies. It has been our experience that this is the best and most safe way to explore these territories. Our staff and tour guides cannot take any responsibility for what happens in these Palestinian controlled areas. We monitor the situation daily in Israel and the Palestinian controlled territories and if we feel that it is not a good time to visit any area we will of course inform you immediately and be given all other options.
Passports are required to be presented at security checkpoints entering/exiting the West Bank including Bethlehem and Jericho.
DAY 5 Jerusalem – Bethlehem – Yad Vashem – Israel Museum Dead Sea Scrols
Picturesque Palestinian hilltop town overlooking the Judean desert where the Church of the Nativity marks the birthplace of Christ.
Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and at the same place it honors the Righteous among the Nations who risked their lives to rescue Jews during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem also houses various museums, research and education centers, monuments and memorials.
The Shrine of the book
This section of the Israel Museum contains the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, two-thousand year old manuscripts that were discovered in terracotta jars in caves at Qumran. The pavilion’s dome shaped like the covers of the jars found at Qumran, while the contrast between the white dome and the black basalt wall alludes to the dualistic concept of the cosmos divided between Light and Darkness and the triumph of the “Sons of Light” over the “Sons of Darkness”.
DAY 6 Jerusalem’s Old city and Mount of Olives
Jerusalem is a treasure trove of archaeology, religion, and art. Over the course of its history, the city has been razed and rebuilt scores of times. Its importance derives not so much from its geographical position as from the fact that it is the holy city of the world’s three major monotheistic religions: Jerusalem is home to the Holy Sepulchre of Christ, venerated by Christians, the Rock from which Mohammed ascended, sacred to Muslims, and the Western (or Wailing) Wall, a place of worship for those of the Jewish faith. The heart of Jerusalem is without a doubt the Old city with its four quarters (Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Armenian), dominated by the Temple Esplanade, and narrow streets and colorful markets crowded with tourists and pilgrims.
Mount of Olives – the view point
The Mount of Olives rises beyond the Kidron Valley which separates it from the Temple Mount, in the morning with the sun at our back the Old City is presented in front of your eyes. This place is essential for all three monotheistic religions and lends itself to various topics of discussion, from historical to contemporary themes. Above all it provides the most beautiful view of Jerusalem. Its height is 872 meters above sea level.
DAY 7 – Jerusalem – Ein Gedi – Masada – Ein Bokek
The mountain fortress of Masada looms over a desolate landscape at the edge of the Dead sea. The name rings out as a warning and a promise in the phrase“Masada shall not fall again” pronounced by new Israeli soldiers at the swearing-in ceremony held annually at Masada. Towering almost 300 meters above the Dead Sea shore, the most spectacular archeological site in Israel. Part of the line of cliffs that rises up to the Judean desert plateau, Masada is cut off from the surrounding area by steep wadis to the north, south and west. Accessible via cable car or climbed on foot via Snake path from the east. Masada became a place of pilgrimage ( second to the Western Wall) is the story of the epic siege of the fortress by the Zealots from the Roman Garrison , 66 CE, possessing Masada during the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE and three years later the Roman Tenth Legion arrived…. wait for you guide to tell you the rest.
Ein Gedi is an oasis abounding in fauna and luxuriant subtropical vegetation that has been rededicated as a protected area. The park area embraces a great number of springs which some of them form majestic waterfalls. Several grottos containing very ancient archeological finds as well as in the area are ruins of an ancient synagogue.
Often portrayed with visitors floating on its surface while reading a book, the Dead Sea is a must-see destination. The waters are full of healing properties, as witnessed by the myriad of therapeutic and cosmetic products originating from its waters. Known already in ancient times, Cleopatra took advantage of its wonders.