Ashdod (Jerusalem), Israel
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Approximately 10¼ Hours
Old City of Jerusalem & Its Walls
As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs. It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham's sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the different religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ's tomb.
On the drive to Jerusalem, familiar names will catch your attention all along the way. Begin your tour with a magnificent view over the Golden City from atop the Mount of Olives. Then walk through the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent the last moments before his arrest. Early Christians were already holding gatherings here before the first church was built around AD 380. Visit the beautiful modern-day church and see some of the oldest olive trees remaining in Jerusalem.
Reboard your coach for the short drive to Mt Zion to visit the Room of the Last Supper and King David's Tomb. Observe the Ramparts built in the 16th century; then, enter the Old City via the Zion Gate. Walk through the Jewish Quarter and the Roman Cardo to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on the site of Christ's resurrection. The original vast sanctuary built here by Emperor Constantine was destroyed centuries later, but a replacement was eventually rebuilt by the Crusaders. Inside the church you will see the last five Stations of the Cross.
Proceed through the colorful bazaar back to the Jewish Quarter. Before reaching the Western (Wailing) Wall, you will descend below street level to visit the Herodian Quarter Museum, displaying the archaeological remains of Jewish mansions from the second Temple era. These are believed to have been the homes of aristocratic families during the Herodian period -- most likely temple priests and their families. Next, you will spend some time at the Wailing Wall. This is the last vestige of the ramparts that surrounded the Holy Temple of the Jews, built by Solomon, destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, rebuilt by Babylonian exiles, and burned down by Titus.
Exit the Old City and drive back to Ashdod.
Please note: There is no restroom stop on the approximately 1.5-hour drive between Ashdod and Jerusalem. Modest attire is required; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered. Use of an audio headset (included) in the Old City will enhance your tour experience. Tour does note operate on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.