July 3: Nazareth Village, Mount Carmel, and Caesarea
As we leave the Sea Galilee and head for Jerusalem, we will first stop at the little town where Jesus grew up, Nazareth. Here we will visit Nazareth village, an open air museum that reconstructs and reenacts village life in the Galilee in the time of Jesus. From here we travel to Mount Carmel--the site where the Prophet Elijah battled with the priests of Baal as recorded in 1 Kings 18.
After lunch, we will visit Caesarea Maritima, the site of Herod the Great's famous man-made harbor. Caesarea was the only harbor in ancient Israel. In addition to sailing in and out of this harbor during his missionary journey's, the apostle Paul was also imprisoned here for several years. Caesarea was also a key location for the Crusaders in the Middle Ages.
Dinner and overnight at the Leonardo Hotel in Jerusalem.
July 4: Hezekiah Tunnel and the Herodium
Today we being with an early morning visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher--the place where Jesus rose from the dead. This is one of the busiest sites in all of Jerusalem as Christians from all the world travel to see where Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected. Visiting in the morning will allow us to bypass most of the crowds.
Later in the morning we will visit 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). It will be an experience you will never forget.
After a late lunch, we will visit the Herodium--Herod's palace and desert fortress just outside of Bethlehem. It also served as Herod's burial site, which was recently discovered.
Our day will end after with an evening spectacular light show in the Old City on the life of King David.
Dinner and over night at the Leonardo Hotel.
July 5: 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 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 Herodian Quarter, where we will see homes of wealthy priestly families who lived in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. One of the homes may even be the residence of the High Priest Annas, who was involved in the trial of Jesus.
Our last stop of the day is the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. 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 Jerusalem 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.
Dinner and Overnight at the Leonardo Hotel in Jerusalem.
July 6: The Way of the Cross
Today we experience that fateful day 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. We will briefly stop at the The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place were Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected, before heading to the Kidron Valley to reflect on the resurrection.
Dinner and Overnight at the Leonardo in Jerusalem.