Special Tour in March 2016:

“Jerusalem and the land of the Bible”

5 March 2016  –  9 March 2016

5 March 2016 – 11 March 2016

This special  tour will be guided and escorted by some of the best archaeologists who dug and discovered part of the sites that the tour will visit.

 

DAY 1

Arrival to Ben Gurion Airport. Assistance and transfer to the hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. Evening tour of Jerusalem city center and night life.

DAY 2

After breakfast, begin exploring the history of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives, from where you will see the  panoramic view of the Old City. From this bird`s eye position you will learn about the development of the city from the Canaanite period, 4000 years ago, through King David, the Romans, the Crusaders and the Turks. Drive to the City of David to visit the recent excavations, the Royal Palace, Warren`s shaft and the Siloam Spring. Walk the 2000 year old street, once leading to the Temple Mount.  Visit the Archeological Park, Robinson`s Arch, the Southern steps leading to Hulda`s Gates and the Davidson`s Center located in an 8thCentury Palace. Visit the Wailing Wall, the impressive remains of the temple`s walls. This is the most sacred place for the Jewish People. See the original foundation of the wall built by King Herod with the enormous and impressing Herodian stones. Walk by the foundations of the Fortress of Antonia (where Jesus was on trial). Walk out from underground Jerusalem to the market street in the Old City. Visit the impressive Crusader`s Basilica of St. Anne, one of the best preserved medieval buildings in Jerusalem. Walk along the stations of the cross on the Via Dolorosa, visit the largest Byzantine Church in the Middle East. Before returning to the hotel, visit David`s Tower, a Turkish Citadel with impressive remains of Herod`s Palace and the Roman Fortifications. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem

DAY 3

After breakfast, visit Mount Zion, the Upper Room and King David`s Tomb, located in a Turkish “Chan” (inn). Enter through the Zion Gate to the reconstructed  Jewish Quarter, walk along the “Cardo”; the Roman-Byzantine colonnaded street, now restored as a Judaica arts center. See Hezekiah`s city wall, from the First Temple Era, built to protect the city  against the Babylonian attack.. Visit the Herodian Mansion; get impressed by the remnants of the fine homes with their mosaic floors and fine wall plaster. On to the Burnt House, revealing the dramatic moments of Jerusalem in the days of the destruction of the city in the year 70 C.E. In the afternoon visit the Israel Museum, at the Archeological wing where unique finds are displayed from prehistoric times to the Crusader Period. Visit the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display. To conclude our visit in Archeological Jerusalem, visit the Model of Jerusalem as it was in the Second Temple times. On the way back to the hotel, view the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) building. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.

DAY 4

After breakfast drive South to Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, an exciting unique archaeological site in the surroundings of Jerusalem with an unbelievable mystery  from the Iron age and an example for the challenges in understanding archaeological discoveries in the biblical lands. Continue to Bethlehem to visit  the Church of Nativity, an impressive Basilica first built by the Byzantines. On to the Judean wilderness to see one of the wonders of Israel, “Herodion”. This is an artificial mountain built by King Herod the Great. The aim of this tremendous project was to have a refuge palace and fortress in case he had to escape from Jerusalem. Recent archeological digs discovered the tomb of King Herod himself. Drive. On the way to Qumran visit the Good Samaritan Inn hosting a large collection of mosaics from all over Israel. Continue to the Dead Sea shores, to visit the archeological site , where the famous Essen`s lived (as well as John the Baptist). See the remains of the houses, communal dining room and several “mikve” (ritual baths). Hear also how the water system was built supplying enough water for farming. Here, in some of the caves  were found in 1947 the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, now displayed in the Shrine of the Book. On the way to our hotel, pass by the oasis of Ein Gedi. Check in our hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. Free time to experience the saltiest lake on Earth. Dinner and overnight in the Dead Sea.

DAY 5

After breakfast, depart to Massada, ascend and descend by cable car to the magnificent fortress built by King Herod. Walk between the ruins of the palaces, luxurious bath houses, church, rampart and synagogue. Hear the story of the brave Zealots who rebelled against the Romans and took over Massada and made it into their last stronghold, where they also died in a dramatic way. The fabulous architecture of the archeological finds, combined with the amazing story of the Zealots, brought it`s recognition as a World Heritage site. Drive north along the Dead Sea to Jericho, where you will see the “Tel” (ancient mound) and the oldest walled town in the world, 10000 years old. Continue North along the Jordan Valley to the amazing Crusaders Fortress of Belvoir, one of the most remarkable and best preserved castles built by Franks signifying the prime Crusader military architecture. Walk  along  the walls, the moat and partially reconstructed buildings. Enjoy the magnificent view of the Valley and the mountain ridge of Gilead, Moab and Golan. Drive to Beit Shean, observe the “Tel” containing the remains of the Biblical City, upon where the Philistines brought the bodies of King Saul and his 3 sons. Beit Shean was the capital of the Decapolis cities of the Greco-Roman alliance. Listen to the story of Beit Shean while seating on the ancient stones of the enormous amphitheater built of the local black basalt stones. Walk on the Roman colonnaded streets, observe the impressing temples and bath houses. See the luxurious spa center, the fountains and the pools, once used to amuse the Roman high society.

End of Tour 1. Participants taking only tour 1 will be transferred to

Tel Aviv (or the Airport upon their request)  after the visit to Bet Shean.

Participants taking the full program of  Tour 2  will continue to the Kibbutz Hotel for dinner and overnight and continue the tour:

DAY 6

After breakfast, begin the day cruising on the Sea of Galilee. Visit the biblical archeological site of Capernaum. On to the biblical city and the nature reserve of Dan. This was the Capital of the Israeli Northern Kingdom. See the second oldest arch in the world.  . Drive to Banyas, the main source of the Jordan River. See the carved in the rock Temple  for Pan, the Greek God. Continue to visit Gamla, called also “Massada of the North”. Josephus describes in details the last stand of the rebels and the last days of the town before destroyed by the Roman. See the remains of the ramparts that held back the Romans and the oldest synagogue ever found. Learn about the main agriculture industry as you see the many olive presses. Drive to the Talmudic era village Katzrin. See the reconstructed synagogue and learn about ancient life in the Golan Heights. We will end the day with a short visit to Acre (Akko) on the Mediteranean. Dinner and overnight in Acre

DAY 7

After breakfast we will continue to explore medieval Acre, we shall visit sites such as the Hospitallers headquarters, the Port and the Templar`s Tunnel. While driving down the Mediterranean coastline, we will drive up to Mount Carmel for a magnificent panoramic view over the Bay. Continue south for a short stop by Chateau Pelerin (Atlit) that was built with the serious aid of pilgrims and was the last Frankish stronghold in the Holy Land. Our trip further down the coastline, will take us to Caesarea. After a short city tour of Tel Aviv, we will end the day visiting the historical and enchanting Jaffa located at the southern part of modern Tel Aviv.

End of the tour. Drop off at the center of Tel Aviv.

(Overnight in Tel Aviv or other services can be arranged upon request)

Prices:

TOUR 1 : 5-9 March 2016  :  1,440 US $

TOUR 2 : 5-11 March 2016  :  1,950 US $

Tour includes:

4 or 6 nights in 4* superior hotels.

Breakfast and dinner daily

Transfer from the airport to hotel in Jerusalem

4 or 6 full days of touring with

All entrance fees

Deluxe air-conditioned van or bus

English speaking archaeologist guide

Tour excludes:

Any personal expense

Tips to hotel staff, guide and driver
Optional 3 days tour to the Negev-the southern desert of Israel, Petra in Jordan, or other tours are available upon request.