Visit important Holy Land historic and sacred sites on the Bethlehem Pilgrimage Tour from Tel Aviv.
At the start of the excursion, you will be picked up from your hotel in Tel Aviv at around 0720h (07:20am). You will travel in an air-conditioned coach and will be accompanied by an English speaking guide (English /German, English/French, or English/Spanish as per your choice).
Approximately an hour after leaving Tel Aviv, you will arrive at the outskirts of the holy town of Bethlehem, which lies just 8km (5 miles) south of Jerusalem. The town was the childhood home of the biblical King David and is known as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It has long been a major site of Christian pilgrimage.
At the entrance to Bethlehem, you will see Rachel’s Tomb, where the Abrahamic matriarch Rachel died after giving birth to her son Benjamin and was buried "by the wayside" (Gen. 48:7).
In Bethlehem you will visit the Church of the Nativity, the place where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born and one of the holiest sites in Christendom. It is also one of the oldest surviving Christian churches.
At the Church you will see the Door of Humility, built so low that even the most important visitors had to dismount from their horses, as well as Crusader paintings, Byzantine mosaics, the Grotto of the Nativity (the actual birthplace) and the Chapel of the Manger.
In the floor of the Grotto of the Nativity you will see 14-point silver star with a Latin inscription, which marks the spot where Jesus is said to have been born. The star you see is a replacement, the original having mysteriously disappeared in 1847.
Adjacent to the Church of the Nativity is Manger Square, the hub of Bethlehem’s religious activity and the site of Christmas Eve festivities every year. Other buildings around the Square are the Church of St Catherine, the Mosque of Omar and the Palestinian Peace Center.
You end your tour of Bethlehem with a view of Shepherds' Fields, the place identified since ancient times with the shepherds who saw the Star of the Nativity. This area is also believed to be where the Hebrew matriarchs Ruth and Naomi gleaned in the fields behind the harvesters on their way to Bethlehem from Moab (Ruth 2-4). Your vehicle then proceeds to Jerusalem.
The day-long excursion takes around 5 hours and 30 minutes including travelling time. At the end of your tour you will be dropped off in Jerusalem and could perhaps take the opportunity to do some sightseeing in the Old City. You will need to make your own arrangements to return to your accommodation in Tel Aviv.