Day 1 - Arrive in Tel Aviv, Israel. Welcome to Tel Aviv!. Enjoy this evening's welcome dinner with your traveling companions and Tour Director. (D)
Day 2 - Tel Aviv. Excursion to Valley of Elah - Latrun - Jaffa. Drive into the ancient land of the Philistines and in the Valley of Elah. Stop at the site of David's victory over the Philistine champion, Goliath, and hear about this biblical event. Later, refresh your memory with the tale of Samson and Delilah as you proceed through the land of the Dan tribe to the wide Valley of Ayalon. At strategic Latrun you visit the MONASTERY OF THE TRAPPIST MONKS. Continue along the Mediterranean shore and stop in Jaffa for a walk through the beautifully restored ancient port, where medieval pilgrims started their strenuous 2-day trek to Jerusalem. Return to Tel Aviv. (B)
Day 3 - Tel Aviv - Caesarea - Haifa. Start your tour of the Holy Land with Caesarea, the perfect place to learn about the Roman and Crusader presence in the country. Visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER and the impressive CRUSADER FORTRESS, and admire Herod's stadium and harbor. Travel to Haifa, a city with a long history dating back to biblical times, and enjoy a visit to the golden-domed BAHA'I SHRINE, the world center of Baha'i faith. (B,D)
Day 4 - Haifa - Acre - Nazareth - Cana - Kibbutz. Visit Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at the northern end of the lovely Bay of Haifa. Acre became the capital of the Crusader kingdom after its conquest by Richard the Lionheart. Marvel at the forbidding Ottoman fortress and tour the excavated part of the immense underground CRUSADER CITY with its secret passageways and the vaulted crypt of the Knights of St. John. On to Nazareth in Galilee to visit the contemporary CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION. Next, travel on to Cana, site of the first miracle where Jesus changed water to wine at a wedding. Due to this, many couples renew their wedding vows at this sacred place. After a panoramic view over Lake Tiberias, see an ancient fisherman's boat said to be from the time of Christ. Time to relax before dinner. This evening, you are invited for a [LF] LECTURE ON KIBBUTZ LIFE. (B,D)
Day 5 - Kibbutz - Mount of Beatitudes - Capernaum - Sea of Galilee - Bet She'an - Jerusalem. Heading towards the Sea of Galilee, visit the MOUNT OF BEATITUDES, where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount. On to CAPERNAUM, where Jesus recruited his first followers among the fishermen. Afterwards, [LF] enjoy a 45-minute CRUISE on the Sea of Galilee. Via the ruins of Kursi, which memorialize two of Jesus' miracles, arrive at the Jordan River and visit a BAPTISMAL SITE. Then, visit the ancient city of Bet She'an with its fine ROMAN and BYZANTINE RELICS. The city is located at the foot of Mount Gilboa, where King Saul and his son died by their own hands in battle with the Philistines. On the way to Jerusalem, stop for a breathtaking panoramic view of the Holy City, considered one of the oldest places in the world, with a history dating back as far as 4000 BC. (B,D)
Day 6 - Jerusalem. Excursion to Masada & the Dead Sea. Drive through the Judean wilderness to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the surface of the Earth. Enjoy the scenery as you follow the road between the salty water and majestic desert mountains. Catch glimpses of the caves of Qumran, where the precious Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Ascend by cable car to the spectacular cliff-top FORTRESS of Masada, and hear how 960 Jewish zealots preferred death at their own hands to the indignity of surrender to overwhelming Roman forces. Around lunchtime, reach one of the comfortable Dead Sea resorts. You will have plenty of time here to [LF] experience the feeling of buoyancy in the heavy water. Then, back to Jerusalem. (B,D)
Day 7 - Jerusalem. Excursion to the Old City. After a panoramic view from the MOUNT OF OLIVES over the old and modern parts of the city, start your guided walking tour. Via the Chapel of Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem, arrive at the GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE. Here, see the Rock of Agony, where Jesus prayed his last prayer before his arrest. Nearby are the Caves of the Assumption of Mary and of the Betrayal. Follow the Stations of the Cross along the VIA DOLOROSA to Golgotha, and visit the CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE. Erected over the site of the crucifixion, this church is shared by six Christian communities. Walk past the Temple Mount from where you can see the Dome of the Rock, a splendid mosque on the holy mount. On to the WAILING WALL, the most holy shrine in the Jewish religion. Then, stroll through the restored Jewish quarter to MOUNT ZION, and we visit the UPPER ROOM, the TOMB OF KING DAVID, and the HOUSE OF CAIAPHAS, where Jesus was kept the night after he was arrested. (B)
Day 8 - Jerusalem. Excursion to Yad Vashem & the Israel Museum - Bethlehem. Visit the YAD VASHEM MEMORIAL created to commemorate the six million martyrs of the Holocaust. Afterwards, continue to the ISRAEL MUSEUM with the Shrine of the Book, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceed to Bethlehem and see Shepherd's Field, where the angels announced the birth of Jesus. Next, visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, which stands on the site where Jesus was born. On the way back to Jerusalem, visit the GARDEN TOMB, where you will enjoy the scenery of the beautiful holy garden. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with your traveling companions of an unforgettable journey through the Holy Land. (B,D)
Day 9 - Jerusalem, Israel - Allenby Bridge - Amman, Jordan - Jerash - Um Quais - Amman. A comfortable drive across the Allenby Bridge, brings you to Jordan. Drive north to JERASH, the best-preserved Greco-Roman city in the Middle East. Next, stop in Um Quais, site of the Gadarene swine miracle, before arriving in Jordan's capital, Amman. (B,D)
Day 10 - Amman - Wadi Rum - Petra. [LF] An exciting visit to Wadi Rum is on the program today. Wadi Rum is the largest wadi in Jordan and made eternally famous through the movie Lawrence of Arabia. Continue to the "rose-red city" of Petra. Relax at your hotel this evening or explore the ancient city. (B,D)
Day 11 - Petra. Full day of guided sightseeing in Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World®. Lost to the world for centuries, it is located in the biblical land of Moab. Enjoy an unforgettable experience as you walk down the SIQ, the narrow gorge made famous in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Stand in awe in front of the iconic and famed TREASURY. In addition to seeing numerous spectacular temples and tombs created out of the rose-colored sandstone, [LF] sip tea in a BEDOUIN TENT. (B,D)
Day 12 - Petra - Kerak - Wadi Mujib - Dead Sea. This morning features Kerak, with a visit to the CRUSADER CASTLE and Wadi Mujib, the "Jordanian Grand Canyon." Continue to your hotel at the Dead Sea for your two-night stay. (B,D)
Day 13 - Dead Sea. Excursion to Madaba, Mount Nebo & Bethany Beyond the Jordan. A fascinating day today! Stop in Madaba to visit ST. GEORGE'S CHURCH, which houses a precious 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land. Also explore the MADABA ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM. One of today's major highlights is a visit to MOUNT NEBO, where Moses saw the Promised Land. Next is Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Christians believe that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Return to the Dead Sea. (B,D)
Day 14 - Dead Sea. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning (the nearest airport is Amman). (B)
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