Visit some of the world’s most sacred destinations on the Jerusalem and Bethlehem Pilgrimage Tour.
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).
About an hour after leaving Tel Aviv you will arrive at the outskirts of Jerusalem. Nowhere else in the world can claim the religious, cultural or historical significance of this ancient honey-colored city. Jerusalem has been a holy place for around 3,000 years and contains sacred sites for all three great faiths of the Western world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Before entering the heart of Jerusalem you will stop at the Mount of Olives on the east side of the city. The Mount of Olives is mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible and there are frequent references to it in the New Testament. Since Biblical times, it has been an important Jewish cemetery where many notable historic figures are buried. From your viewpoint on the Mount you will see splendid panoramic views of Jerusalem and of the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed with his disciples the night before he was crucified.
You will then visit the Old City with its labyrinth of narrow cobblestone alleyways and bustling bazaars. Walk through the Armenian and Jewish quarters to the recently excavated and restored Cardo, the Roman road. In ancient times, the Cardo was the center of economic life and was lined with shops, merchants and vendors.
Spend some time exploring the Jewish Quarter, where some of the oldest synagogues are to be found.
You will stop at the Western Wall, also known as the ‘Wailing Wall’ or simply ‘the Kotel’. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great. The name ‘Wailing Wall’ comes from the Jewish practice of coming to the site to mourn the destruction of the Temple and the fate of their community.
Continue to the Christian Quarter where you will walk along the Via Dolorosa (The Way of the Cross). This is the route Jesus is believed to have taken when he carried his cross from the place of his trial to the site of the crucifixion.
Visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered by Christians as the site of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the 4th century, Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine and a convert to Christianity, traveled to Palestine and identified the location of the crucifixion; her son then built a magnificent church in that spot.
Your tour continues by coach to 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 the birthplace of Jesus Christ and has long been a major site of Christian pilgrimage.
You will stop at the Shepherds' Fields, the place identified since ancient times with the shepherds who saw the Star of 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).
At the entrance to Bethlehem, you will see Rachel’s Tomb, where the Abrahamic matriarch Rachel died 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, Crusader paintings, Byzantine mosaics, the Grotto of the Nativity (the actual birthplace) and the Chapel of the Manger.
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.
The tour will spend from 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours in Bethlehem.
This day-long excursion takes between 10 hours to 11 hours. There will be a stop for lunch (payable direct) in the middle of the day.
At the end of your tour you will be dropped back at your hotel in Tel Aviv.