Haifa (Tel Aviv), Israel
Information Not Currently Available
2 Days/1 Night
Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity & the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem
"The inscribed property is situated 10 km south of Jerusalem on the site identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus since the 2nd century. A church was first completed there in ad 339 and the edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original building. The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route."
"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."
Day 1 (L/D)
Leave the ship in Haifa and drive to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, also called the City of Annunciation. This is where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, telling her that she would bear the Son of God.
Visit the Church of Annunciation, built over an ancient house believed to be Mary's house, and St Joseph's Church built, according to tradition, over his carpentry shop.
After a delightful lunch served on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, you'll drive by the Mount of the Beatitudes where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount. Watch for Tabgha, said to be the site where he performed the miracles of the loaves and fishes.
At Capernaum, St Peter's village, you will see the ancient synagogue where Jesus taught, and St Peter's house.
Visit the Yardenit baptismal site by the Jordan River; then, drive down the Jordan Valley and through the Judean Hills to Jerusalem.
After you check in at your hotel, dinner is served, followed by a drive around the magnificently illuminated Old Town walls. You'll stop at the Dung Gate for a moonlit visit to the Western (Wailing) Wall -- the last vestige of the ramparts that surrounded the Holy Temple of the Jews built by King Solomon. After your visit and a chance to touch one of the ancient stones, return to your hotel and overnight in Jerusalem. Dinner and Overnight at the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel (or similar) after an exciting and memorable day.
Day 2 (B/L)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and drive to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity -- built above the place where Jesus Christ is said to have been born. The actual Cave of the Nativity is a small crypt with a vaulted masonry roof. Poor Bethlehem families used the rocky hollows of the region as stables or dwellings, so the biblical tradition that places the Nativity in a cave is consistent with local lore. This church was first built by Queen Helene in the 4th century and is the only Byzantine church in the Holy Land.
Next, leave Bethlehem and head back to Jerusalem. You'll take in a magnificent view over the Golden City, with its Temple Mount, from Mount Scopus.
Walk through the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus spent his last moments before his arrest. Visit the Church of all Nations here, and after lunch, begin your walking tour on Mount Zion. This is the hill on which the city of Jerusalem is perched.
Visit the Room of the Last Supper and walk by King David's Tomb. Enter the Old City via Zion and, upon reaching the restored Jewish Quarter, visit the 2nd-century Roman Cardo. Here you will see the walls of the 2nd Temple of Jerusalem. Proceed through the colorful bazaar to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Emperor Constantine constructed a vast sanctuary on the site of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. The building was later destroyed but was rebuilt by the Crusaders. Inside the church you will see the last five stations of the Via Dolorosa.
Continue your walk through the Christian Quarter to the Jaffa Gate, where your coach is waiting for you.
At the conclusion of two exciting days in Israel, your motorcoach will bring you to Ashdod's port where you will re-board the ship.
Please note: Modest attire is required; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered. Wear comfortable walking shoes. The Bethlehem part of the tour will be guided by a Palestinian guide. You will need your passport to enter Bethlehem.
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