Along the way:
Begin with a beautiful scenic drive from Ashdod up the Judean Hills. As you ascend into these hauntingly stark hills, you’ll be traveling along the same route used for centuries to reach Jerusalem – the capital of Israel, which is famous for its timeless beauty and was once considered the center of the world.
What you See:
♦ Mt of Olives: Presents an astounding view of the Old and New city. One can see Jerusalem in all its glory – the Old City walls, the New City buildings, and the ancient villages all blend into one panoramic view of this glorious city. Promenade may seem like just another overlook but where else can you get a view of nine measures of beauty and 3,000 years of history.
♦ The Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of all Nations: olive trees shade this enclosure on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem. It was here in this garden that Judas betrayed Christ. Church of All Nations was Built at Gethsemane in 1924, the church features interior domes decorated with mosaic symbols of the countries that contributed to its construction. The Rock of Agony, where Christ endured His Passion is located at the Altar.
♦ The Kotel (Wailing Wall): Enter the Old City through the Dung Gate. Revered as the sole remnant of the 2nd Temple (destroyed by Rome in 70 A.D.), the massive Western Wall is actually part of the Temple Mount foundation erected by Herod the Great. The Wall is the most sacred Jewish shrine in Jerusalem. From the plaza you can view the Temple Mount dominated by the El Asqa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, sacred to the Muslims.
♦ Via Dolorosa: Cross the Muslim Quarter to The Way of Suffering and observe the Stations of the Cross. Proceed uphill through the city’s narrow and crowded cobbled streets towards Calvary and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of the final Stations of the Cross.
♦ The Church of the Holy Sepulcher: The church is believed to enshrine the sites of Christ’s crucifixion, entombment and resurrection. The 12th century church is shared by several Christian denominations. Steep steps lead to the second level where a shrine is situated in Calvary or Golgotha. Explore this huge church and experience the unique atmosphere of this place created by pilgrims from all over the world.
♦ Bethlehem: Your second part of the day will be dedicated to a visit to Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. Walk along the ancient pathways of this hallowed town, where devout Christian pilgrims have gathered for thousands of years. Visit the Church of the Nativity, complex that is comprised of two churches – The Orthodox Basilica of the Nativity and the Catholic Church of St Catherine. Please note that visiting to the grotto beneath, where Jesus was born, is subjected to time permitting according to the waiting time and lines.
- Wear conservative attire when visiting religious sites. Please cover shoulders and knees.
- To fully participate may require periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces. There are steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and periods of standing.
- Walking shoes are recommended together with sun protection.
- Bethlehem is a Palestinian Authority teritory.The visit in Bethlehem involved crossing the check point into Palestinian territory.
- Please note that Palestinian regulations require that all guests are provided with the opportunity to shop within Bethlehem in certified Christian souvenirs shops.