December 27th, 2024 – January 9, 2025
Guided by Mike Day
Holy Land Tour Includes
Fly from the USA to Tel Aviv, Israel.
Arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport. We will meet our local guide and transfer to the hotel in Netanya.
Netanya is a city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Holy Land area.
Here we eat dinner and overnight.
Today we officially begin sight-seeing in the Holy Land, with a drive to Caesarea to see the Roman ampitheatre, including port, crusader wall, the Pontius Pilate Stella and aqueduct.
Holy Land Sites-
The Caesarea Ampitheatre in Israel was designed for various forms of entertainment, including gladiatorial contests, chariot races, and theatrical performances. With its impressive architectural features, including seating for thousands of spectators, a central arena, and elaborate underground chambers, the ampitheatre showcases the opulence and sophistication of Roman engineering and culture during its time in the Holy Land.
The Crusader Wall is a a testament to the enduring traditions of Christ and the Christian faith. It stands as a physical remnant of the Crusaders’ efforts to protect and defend the Holy Land sites. Today, it serves as a powerful symbol of the Christian heritage in Israel, drawing visitors from around the world to explore its rich history and the traditions of Christ that it represents.
Haifa, a coastal city in Israel, boasts a unique blend. Including in modernity as well as historical charm in the Holy Land. Nestled along the Mediterranean, it is renowned for its stunning landscapes. Including the beautifully landscaped Baha’i Gardens on Mount Carmel. Additionally, this city offers a captivating experience. Seamlessly, it integrates religious diversity with cultural richness.
We drive inland to visit the Muhraka Carmelite Monastery in the beautiful Mt. Carmel. While exploring the monastery we review the powerful moment where Elijah called down fire from Heaven. This opportunity allows oneself to embrace the profound spirituality that has been cherished in this holy place for generations.
To end our day of touring, we will visit the infamous little town of Nazareth. We will walk the streets of the recreated Nazareth Village of the 1st century. If there’s time, the church of the Annunciation.
Dinner and overnight in Tiberias
Today we will begin by visiting the Mount of Transfiguration at Caesarea Philippi. Following will be the Mount of Beatitudes and lunch in Magdala. After which, we will journey to Tabgha. From there, we will go to Peter’s Primacy. Finally, we will visit Capernaum.
Beginning our day we arrive at the Mount Transfiguration. This place stands as a testament to the enduring traditions of Christ. A holy place such as this, offers a spiritually enriching experience for pilgrims and travelers. It is a place where visitors can connect with the profound heritage of Christian traditions in Israel.
The Mount of Beatitudes in Israel is a revered site deeply rooted in the traditions of Christ. This historic mountain, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, holds profound religious significance. Traditionally, it is believed to be the location where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
In Tabgha we will see the Church of Multiplication (loaves and fishes) or feeding of the 5,000. Next will be Peter’s Primacy.
A significant Christian tradition in Israel, revolves around the belief that this is where Peter was told by Jesus to “feed my sheep.” Traditionally, Capernaum is regarded as the place where Jesus affirmed Peter’s role as the leader of his disciples. Originally, this stems from the New Testament and furthermore, is closely tied to the biblical city of Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Following, we will visit the city of Capernaum. Capernaum is well known as the city where Jesus preformed the majority of his miracles. At least the miracles that have been recorded by his disciples.
Finish the day with an optional swim in the Galilee Sea before dinner.
Overnight in Tiberias.
To start our Holy Land sites, we will have a boat ride on the beautiful Sea of Galilee. Time is spent in the city of Galilee before our visit to Beit She’an.
Holy Land Sites-
Nestled in the Holy Land, Beit She’an boasts a rich history. As well as, provides great archaeological significance. For example, the ruins of this ancient city date back to various civilizations. Offering a captivating glimpse into the region’s past.
Yardinet is believed to be the modern location where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. Pilgrims and visitors come to Yardinet to partake in baptismal ceremonies, reenacting the sacred tradition of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River.
After lunch we will head to the Israel-Jordan border and cross over.
Overnight near the Dead Sea.
Today we will explore one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; Petra. In addition to hiking to the monastery there will be free time to explore the tombs and temples carved into red sandstone.
Situated in the rugged mountains of southern Jordan, near the town of Wadi Musa, we find Petra. Formerly the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom in the 4th century BCE, and later it became a major trading hub. Distinctively, Petra features elaborate rock-cut architecture. The city is known for its buildings carved directly into rose-red cliffs, including the famous Al-Khazneh (the Treasury). Currently, the Treasury serves as the iconic symbol of Petra, and can even be seen featured in Indiana Jones.
The Nabataean people were skilled traders, including in control of the key trade routes of the ancient world. Strategically located, the city allowed the Nabataean people to amass wealth through trade in spices and incense, as well as other valuable commodities. Petra is located along the Silk Road portion of Jordan, therefore making it a vital trade center in the ancient world. Regions affected were the Arabian Peninsula and Mediterranean regions, including Egypt. In order to support the city’s population, the Nabataeans established a sophisticated water management system, including dams and cisterns.
In the 2nd century CE, Petra came under Roman rule, and the city continued to thrive as a regional trading center. However, in the 3rd century, Petra’s decline initiated. Partly due to changes in trading routes and economic patterns, the city gradually fell into obscurity. By the 7th century, it was largely abandoned, remaining lost to the Western world for centuries. Eventually, Petra was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812. Since, it has become a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.
Overnight in Petra.
Holy Land Sites-
Our Holy Land sites for the day begins as we head north and visit Shobak; a Crusader’s Castle. Following, a visit to Machaerus, the ancient fort where John the Baptist was beheaded. Later, we see Madaba to visit St. George Church. Afterwards, we visit Mount Nebo. Traditionally, Mount Nebo is noted as the place where Moses viewed the Promised Land before his departure of the Israelites.
Situated on a hilltop in southern Jordan, we find the Crusader’s Castle: Shobak. Strategically, this fortress is positioned to have controlled the trade routes, as well as provide defense for the region. Originally, the fortress was built by the Crusaders in the 12th century, specifically by Baldwin 1 of Jerusalem, around 1115 AD. Furthermore, it became a part of a series of Crusader castles erected in the area during the medieval period. Shobak played a significant role during the Crusader era in the Holy Land as a military stronghold. Additionally, it served as a key defense point for the protection of trade routes, as well as Christian settlements.
This castle features elements typical of Crusader military architecture, including thick defensive walls, towers and a moat. Designs of the Castle reflect both European and Middle Eastern influences. Overall, it showcases the cultural exchange that occurred during this historical period. Eventually, the fortress was captured by the Ayyubids in 1189 under the leadership of Salah ad-Din. After changing hands between various rulers, it progressively fell into a state of decline and abandonment.
Unsurprisingly, Machaerus is situated on a high plateau, providing strategic military advantages. Both trade routes, as well as neighboring territories can be seen from the fortress. Originally, this structure was built by the Hasmonean king, Alexander Jannaeus in the 1st century BCE. Later, it was then expanded by Herod the Great. The complex includes a palace, fortified walls, as well as a citadel and others various structures.
Famously, this fortress is associated with the imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist, making it a sacred holy land site. According to the New Testament, Herod Antipas ordered the beheading of John the Baptist at the request of Salome, the daughter of Herodias. This incident is described in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.
Overnight near the Dead Sea in Jordan.
We will formally begin the day at Masada, an ancient fortress built by Herod. This fortress overlooks the Dead Sea on a high plateau. It is famously associated with the Jewish Revolt against Roman rule in the 1st century CE. Although it predates the traditions of Christ, the site represents the resilience and determination of the Jewish people in the face of adversity, thus making it a holy land site in and of itself.
From the road we will stop to see the caves at Qumram where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of Jewish texts dating back to the Second Temple period. These scrolls contained biblical texts and other ancient records that have helped to shed light on Christianity as a whole.
After our stop at the caves, we will continue on to Jericho. In the Holy Land, this city is well known for the story of the children of Israel marching around the walls. After 40 days of marching, this city’s ancient walls tumbled down.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
We observe the Sabbath on Saturday while in Jerusalem. So today we will have an opportunity to have sacrament meeting at the BYU Jerusalem Center.
Holy Land Sites-
We will try to make this Sabbath day sacred as we visit many sites of that caliber. These sites will include the Room of the Last Supper, St. Peter Gallicantu, Caiaphas Palace, and the Church of all Nations.
Gallicantu is located on the eastern slope of Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Traditionally, it is a significant site in Christianity. This church is associated with the house of Caiaphas, the high priest. Here it is believed that Jesus was held in custody before his crucifixion. Furthermore, “Gallicantu” means “cock’s crow” in Latin. Obviously, this name reflects Peter’s denial of Jesus, as foretold by the rooster’s crowing.
Also known as the Basilica of the Agony. This Christian Church is located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. It is renowned for its beautifully adorning facade. Additionally, this church commemorates the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Therefore, it stands as a testament to the spiritual and historical richness of the Holy Land in Christian Tradition.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Today we will spend our day visiting many of the most sacred sites in the Holy Land. Including sites holy to Judaism and Islam, as well as Christianity. These sites are the name sake for the region’s title as the Holy Land.
Holy Land Sites-
This revered Islamic shrine in Jerusalem’s Old City, holds immense significance in the Holy Land. Constructed during the Umayyad Caliphate, the Dome of the Rock is not only an architectural marvel, but also a focal point of religious pilgrimage. Its intricate mosaic work and the octagonal design contribute to its visual grandeur. The holy site is central to Islamic beliefs, associated with the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey.
Traditionally, the Garden Tomb is believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ. This serene garden scene provides a contemplative space for visitors. Moreover, it provides a space of spiritual reflexion and individual connection to the gospel and significance of Jesus Christ.
Also known as Calvary, this hill top is the traditional site of the crucifixion of Jesus. Located in Jerusalem, this hill is central to Christian beliefs, symbolizing the Sacrifice and Redemption inherent in the crucifixion narrative. Pilgrims from around the world visit Golgotha to connect with the pivotal event, making it a crucial landmark in the Holy Land’s religious landscape.
This olive grove at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is attributed to the place of Atonement by Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, it is here that Jesus prayed before his arrest, expressing deep anguish and surrendering to God’s will. The name “Gethsemane” itself means “oil press.” Emphasizing its connection to how the Savior must have felt, as well as symbolic to his purity. This sacred garden serves as a poignant reminder of the Savior and his Atonement.
The Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, is a sacred site in Jerusalem’s Old City. Primarily, it is revered by Judaism as the last remnant of the Second Temple. Jews worldwide consider it a place of prayer and connection to God. The wall’s large stones and historical significance make it a central focus of Jewish worship. Pilgrims often visit the Western Wall to express their devotion, placing written prayers in its crevices.
Overnight in Jerusalem
Today we explore more Holy Land sites, including the newly excavated City of David and the archaeological dig site. This site is associated with King David and serves as a living testament to the enduring traditions of Christ and the roots of Christianity. The site features archaeological excavations that unearth ancient artifacts, structures, and historical evidence, connecting visitors to the biblical narrative.
At the site we will see Hezekiah’s tunnel. This tunnel dates back about 2,700 years and was built to bring water into the city of Jerusalem during the Assyrian invasion. For those who would like to, you can actually walk the tunnel. Head lamps, shorts, and water shoes are recommended for this miniature trek.
We will also visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is traditional site for the crucifixion and burial of Jesus Christ. It is an important site to the Knight’s Templar and one of the reasons for the Crusades.
Finally a visit to the Pools of Bethesda and Templar Church.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
We will spend our day in Bethlehem (which means “House of Bread”).
We begin with a walk down Star Street to the Church of the Nativity. This is the sacred site revered for being the traditional birthplace of Jesus Christ.
We will enjoy lunch at the Shepard’s Tent before departing Bethlehem. We will drive by the Herodain — another one of Herod’s monumental construction projects. We will stop by at Kathisma on the way back to Jerusalem and learn of its significance to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Tonight is the beginning of Shabbat. Anyone interested can walk from the hotel to the Western Wall to experience the welcoming in of the Holy day with the Jewish people. Men will need a head covering.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Free day in Jerusalem. If you would like time for shopping, or exploring the Old City, walking the walls of visiting the Holocaust museum — today is free for you to choose what you would like to do in the Holy Land. Our guide will have suggestions of optional places to visit.
This morning we depart the Holy Land for our flights back home.
Payment Terms: $300 deposit pp required at the time of booking. Final payment is due 90 days before departure.
**this tour is based off of a minimum of 20 passengers and a maximum of 40 passengers
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