Tour Itinerary: Days 10-13

June 30: Hezekiah Tunnel, Bethany, Israeli Museum

We spend our first day of touring in Jerusalem by visiting the City of David--the archaeological remains of the city that dates back to the reign of King David. During our visit we will walk through Hezekiah's tunnel, a 1,500-foot-long-tunnel created by King Hezekiah in 701 BC to protect Jerusalem’s water source, the Gihon Spring, from the invading Assyrians (2 Chron. 32:2-4). 

After visiting the Bethany, and the tomb were according to tradition Lazarus was raised from the dead (John 11), we will visit the Israel Museum. Founded in 1965 as the national museum of Israel , the museum has become one of the leading art and archaeology museums in the world. The Museum has extensive collections of biblical archaeology, Judaica, ethnography, fine art, and artifacts. It is also the home to the Shrine of the Book which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered 1947–56 in 11 caves in and around Qumran, as well as archaeological remains from the Zealots who died at Masada. The museum also is home to the Aleppo Codex, a 10th-century manuscript believed to be the oldest complete copy of the Jewish Scriptures in Hebrew. Another popular attraction of the museum is a detailed model of the topography and architectural character of the city as it was in A.D. 66, the year in which the Great Revolt against the Romans erupted, leading to the eventual destruction of the city and the Temple.

July 1: The Temple Mount

Today we walk in the steps of Jesus as we spend the day exploring the sites and sounds of the old city. The first stop of our walking tour takes us to the Wailing Wall (also known as the Western Wall), originally part of the retaining wall that supported the ancient Jerusalem Temple before it was completely destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. The exposed section of the wall is approximately 62 feet high with another 40 or some feel underground. From the Wailing Wall we walk to the Temple Mount, the original site of the Jewish Temple and current home of the Dome of the Rock.  After touring the Temple Mount, we will head for an underground tour of the Rabbi Tunnels, passageways that run along the foundation stones of the ancient temple mount that date to the time of Herod the Great. Our next stop is the Davidson Center where will be see several exhibits as well as walking around the ancient entrances to the Temple. After lunch, we visit the Temple Mount Shifting Project where we will get to play the role of an archaeologist as we shift through dirt looking for treasures. We will discover pieces of mosaics, bones, weapons, and if we are lucky like we were last time, maybe even an ancient coin. 

After some free time in the Old City to shop for some souvenirs, we will head to the hotel for a brief rest and dinner. Around sundown, we will head to Mount of Olives where we will gather together in an olive grove to reflect on the experience of Jesus on that fateful evening when he was betrayed and arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Overnight at the Leonardo Hotel.

July 2: The Way of the Cross

Today we experience the fateful Friday that led to the crucifixion of Jesus two thousand years ago. We begin at the Mount of Olives as we work our way to the Garden Tomb. Along the way we will visit the House of Annas, where Jesus was first interrogated, then to the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu (the location where Jesus was tried by Caiaphas), and finally to the Ecco Homo Convent (the location where Jesus was tried by Pilate). We will then walk on the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering as Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha, where he was crucified and then buried nearby.  

Our day will conclude as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as we visit both the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Garden Tomb. Dinner and Overnight at the Leonardo Hotel.

July 3: Istanbul

This morning we head to Tel Aviv to catch a morning flight to Istanbul, Turkey. We leave at 9:50 am and arrive at 12:05 pm. After arriving we will visit the ancient Egypt Spice Market--a collection of 85 shops selling all kinds of wonderful spices, jewellery, souvenirs, dried fruits-nuts and sweets that dates back to 1660. From here we will visit the Blue Mosque, famous for its six minarets and magnificent interior blue tiles. Built in the 17th century, the Blue Mosque takes its name from the thousands of Iznik tiles lining the walls. Our last stop is a visit to the Hagia Sophia,  the great Byzantine Basilica built in the 6th century by the emperor Justinian and for centuries the largest Christian church in the world. In the evening we drive to Yalova. Dinner and overnight in Yalova.

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