Breakfast at your Hotel. Pick up approximately 08:15 for your Tour of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Bring your passports with you. Required modest dress code; is recommended to bring a scarf.
Our day begins at the Mount of Olives
with a breathtaking panoramic view over Jerusalem; overlooking the ancient Jewish cemetery where it is believed that the resurrection will occur when the Messiah comes From this elevated location, we can see across the Old City and down to Temple Mount where the Holy Jewish Temple once stood.
We continue towards the Zion Gate
by driving passed the Garden of Gethsemane,
the Church of All Nations
and the Kidron Valley where we see the Jewish burial tombs of Absalom, King David's son; Jehoshaphat and the Hezir family (benei Hazir). At the Zion Gate, we enter Jerusalem's Old City
and make our way through the Armenian Quarter. Then we follow the 1500 year old excavated Byzantine Cardo
which has been restored and is now home to trendy shops which line a section of the ancient road.
We carry on through the Jewish Quarter and on to the Western Wall/ Wailing Wall (Kotel)
which was part of the outer walls of the Holy Jewish Temple that stood on Temple Mount almost 2,000 years ago.
We then walk where Jesus once walked the Way of Sorrows along the Via Dolorosa,
as thousands of pilgrims do each year. We stop at several of the Stations of the Cross where Jesus stopped as he carried his cross to Golgotha (Calvary). The final station on the Way of Sorrows is at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
marking the site where Christ was crucified and where his burial tomb is located. The Basilica was constructed during the Byzantine Era and underwent renovations and reconstruction over the years. Before we leave the Old City, we meander through the typically Middle Eastern markets and then set off for Bethlehem, the city of Christ's birth.
We arrive in the City of Bread, Bethlehem,
which was home to Jesse, King David's father as well as being Christ's birthplace. From Manger Square,
we enter the 4th century Church of the Nativity
which is the oldest church in Israel still in use. Beneath the church is the Grotto of the Nativity
where a star indicates the place where Jesus was born. Also in the Orthodox Church is an alter dedicated to the Three Wise Men.
On the way out of the church, we see the Armenian Chapel of the Kings or Magi, and we visit the Crusader Church. From the Church of St. Catherine we go down into a two room cave which connects with the Grotto of the Nativity. It was here that Saint Jerome spent 30 years translating the Hebrew Bible into the Latin version called The Vulgate.
We stop to see Shepherds Field
and the contemporary Church of the Angels designed by Antonio Berluzzi with panels retelling the story of Jesus' early life.
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