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 lunch we head to 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.
We will return at the end of the day for a short break and dinner at the hotel. After dinner we head to the Tower of David for an evening sound and light show.
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 exploring the Temple Mount for a couple of hours, we will head over to the Davidson Center where we will be able to walk around the foundation of the temple and see the place were people entered the Temple in Jesus' day--and perhaps the spot where Peter and John healed the lame man in Acts.
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. If time permits, we will also walk through the Valley of Hinnom--or as it is called in the Old Testament, Gehenna. This is the place where some of the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire. Tradition also holds it was the city's garbage dump which was always smoldering with fire. This imagery may be the reason why in the New Testament Gehenna is referred to as the place where the wicked will be destroyed.
Dinner and Overnight at the Leonardo Hotel in Jerusalem.
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.
Today we experience that 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 Tomb of the Prophets, 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 last stop will be to the The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place were Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
After some free time in the Old City, we will held to Western Wall to welcome in the Sabbath. We will then return to the hotel for dinner.
Dinner and Overnight at the Leonardo in Jerusalem.
On our final day in Jerusalem, we will worship together by attending the Hurva Synagogue for the Shabbat Service. We will then make our way to the Garden Tomb where we will reflect on the empty tomb and good news of the resurrection of Jesus.
After lunch, which is provided, we head to Tel Aviv to catch an afternoon flight to Istanbul, Turkey. We leave at 2:15 pm and arrive at 4:35 pm. We have a short 2 hr and 25 minute layover, before we catch an evening flight to Izmir, Turkey. Our flight leaves at 7 pm and arrives at 8:10 pm.
Dinner and overnight in the Kaya Hotel in Izmir.