Our Protestant Pilgrimage Israel tour is a basic 7 days pilgrimage tour in the Holy Land covers all of the major sites and places that are mentioned in the Old and New Testament.
Arrival, the city of Nazareth
After reception at Ben-Gurion airport we will head north to the place where the son of God made his first steps.
In the vivid museum of Nazareth Village the ancient ways of life become 3D. Here you will visit a family house as it was at the time of Christ, pick herbs that are mentioned in the Holy Scriptures and talk to both a shepherd and a carpenter who still work in traditional methods. Nazareth Village is considered to be the closest similarity to being alive in the times of the Bible. We will then continue to the Old City itself, starting from the Church of St. Gabriel. It is from the spring that bursts in the crypt of this church that the people of ancient Nazareth, including the family of the Lord, drew their water. The alleys will lead us through the colorful market to the Church of Annunciation. During the reconstruction of the church in the 1950s archeologists discovered the remnants of 1st century AD Nazareth that today can be seen around it. In the center of the ancient village lays a house that for the past 1700 years is believed to be the house of Mary and Joseph and the place where Mary was announced.
Just like Jesus himself we will begin our way from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee making a stop at Cana. In the crypt of the Wedding Church we will see the huge ancient stone jars, similar to those that contained the water that Jesus transformed into wine during a wedding in his first miracle that took place in Cana.
After this exciting first day we will find rest and prepare for the next day in Tiberias, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The Sea of Galilee Region
On our 2nd day we will travel throughout the region where Jesus started his ministry.
From Tiberias we will drive to Capernaum, ‘The Town of Jesus’ and the birth town of Peter. We will visit what tradition and archeology recognizes as both the house of Peter as well as a monumental byzantine synagogue. From Capernaum we will ascend to the Mt.of Beatitudes that watches over the entire region and captures the spiritual atmosphere of the Sermon on the Mount. Tabgha, where the miracle of multiplication occurred will be our last stop before boarding a traditional cruise on the lake itself.
After Lunch we will continue north to Caesarea Philipei just under Mt. Hermon where Jesus asked the disciples who people said he was. The New Testament records that Peter answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then blessed Simon, saying: “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:16-19).
Valley of Armageddon and the shore side
According to the Bible, The Jordan River is a place of deep changes. When the people of Israel crossed it they had become from nomads to settlers, when Elijah crossed it he ascended to heaven, and of course this is where Jesus was baptized by John and started the gospel, this is where we will start our 3rd day.
From the Jordan River we will head to Armageddon. Looking over the notorious Armageddon Valley that knew countless decisive battles throughout the years and being a hill that contains 30 different cities that were built each one above the other’s ruins and were all destroyed over the past 4,000 years; it is also where the book of revelations foresights the final struggle.
From Armageddon we will ascend to the altar of Elijah at the top of nearby Mt. Carmel.
After lunch we will visit Caesarea, the Roman capital of the Holy Land. In the theater of the Roman city a seat with the inscription of the name ‘Pontius Pilate’ was discovered by archeologists. Caesarea is known for being the city where the first gentile was baptized to Christianity, and from where Paul sailed to Rome.
On our way to Jerusalem we will stop at beautiful ancient Jaffa, the port city of Jerusalem; the raw materials for Solomon’s Temple were brought to Jerusalem from Tyre via this port. It is where Peter witnessed the revelation that started a new era by separating Christianity from early Judaism on the roof of the house of Simon the Tanner and where it first left the borders of the Holy Land, with Peter’s departure to Rome.
In the evening we will arrive to Jerusalem.
Bethlehem and Modern Jerusalem
After breakfast we will start our day with a beautiful panoramic view over the Old City of Jerusalem and a welcome ceremony in the Sherover Promenade. From there we transfer to Bethlehem. We will visit the 1700 years old Church of Nativity and see the sights and landscapes that haven’t changed much in the past 2000 years.
On our return to Jerusalem we will visit the Israel Museum. The enormous Model of Ancient Jerusalem brings to life how the city used to look like when Jesus walked in it. The Shrine of the Book holds the most important discovery of the 20th century -the Dead Sea scrolls. The Dead Sea scrolls are parchments that were written by the ancient sect of the Essenes and contain the earliest versions of the Old Testament known to us, as well as other scriptures that describe their unique way of life. From the museum we will continue to the picturesque village of Ein Karem amidst the mountains of Jerusalem on the outskirts of the modern city. Ein Karem is the City of Judea, home of Elizabeth and Zacharias and the place where John the Baptist was born. After walking in the beautiful village alleys and before returning to our hotel, we will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Right behind the Holy City lays the smallest desert in the world. On our way to Jericho we will pass by the Khan of the Good Samaritan that inspired the famous parable of Jesus. In Jericho, the lowest and most ancient city in the world we will see the bricks that witnessed the people of Israel entering the Holy Land, touch the waters of Prophet Elisha’s Spring and climb the cable car to the Mt. of Temptation of Christ. In the Judean desert we will visit Qumran, remnants of a small farm that was home to the famous Essenes. We will then drive to Masada, the desert fortress standing on a 550 meters high cliff overlooking the Dead Sea. After lunch we will float in the saltiest lake in the world before heading back to Jerusalem.
Our 6th day will start from the top of Mt. Olives. Mount of Olives is the mountain of redemption for all three monotheistic religions. We will first visit The Church of Ascension. A few steps away stands The Church of Pater Noster, where Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer. Descending towards the Old City itself we will enter the tear shaped church of Dominus Flevit, where Jesus witnessed the great beauty of the city and shed tears for he knew it is condemned to be destroyed. Outside the church we will see a genuine 1st AD Jewish burial cave with the ossuaries that were found in it. The name Gethsemane derives from the Hebrew and Aramaic word for olive-press; the ancient olive trees that Jesus prayed amidst and that gave their name to the mountain are still there. We will visit the olive trees and the church of Agony that is dedicated to Jesus’ prayer and capture by Judas and the roman soldiers.
From Gethsemane we will continue to Mt. Zion where we will visit the Room of the Last Supper and The Tomb of King David just underneath it. This 900 year old chapel is according to tradition the place where both the last supper and the Pentecost took place. From there we will continue by foot to the last remnant of the Jewish Temple and the holiest place for Judaism- The Wailing Wall, named after the tears shed on its gigantic bricks by Jews morning the destruction of their temple over the last two millenniums.
Our final site for the day would be the Wailing Wall tunnels, underground tunnels dug by archeologists sweeping through time and reaching the foundations of the ancient wall.
Old City, Departure
On the final day in Jerusalem our pilgrimage rises to its peak. Walking through the alleys of the Old City we will visit Bethesda. The waters of Bethesda (Aramaic for ‘house of mercy’) served for more than a thousand years as a health resort; it is there where Jesus performed a miracle and made a crippled man walk. The Via Dolorosa will lead us to the Holy Sepulcher Church before we will take a few steps outside the Old City and into The Garden Tomb, also known as Gordon’s Calvary. In the 1840’s local Christians started to notice a skull shaped cliff just outside the Old City. Archeological examinations revealed a garden with 1st century AD Jewish burial caves, very similar to what the scriptures describe. After a concluding service we will head to the airport. Time permitting we will make our final stop in Emmaus, where Jesus was first seen after the resurrection.