Destinations and sites of Interest
Baha’i Temple and Gardens (Haifa, Israel)
Abu Ghosh is a Christian-Arab village built on a mountainside that was first settled more than 6,000 years ago. In biblical times it was known as Kiryat Yearim, and was a ceremonial center where the Ark of the Covenant was placed.
Atlit Detainee Camp was established by the authorities of the British Mandate for Palestine at the end of the 1930s to prevent Jewish refugees from entering Palestine. The Atlit Camp is now a museum of the history of the Ha’apala. It was declared a National Heritage Site in 1987.
Ayalon Institute, located on Kibbutz Hill, was made to fool the British into thinking it was kibbutz during the British Mandate, when in reality it was the cover for an underground ammunition factory that lay eight meters below ground. Set up by the Jewish underground, the site operated in complete secrecy from 1945 until 1948 and produced more than four million bullets for the Sten submachine gun, used by Palmach fighters.
Baha’i Temple and Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple towers over 19 terraced gardens. The site conceals the grave of the Persian-born Báb, who was executed in 1850 at the age of 31 for his religious teachings. He is known as the Gate, or the Forerunner, of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i faith. While only members of the Baha’i faith can enter the shrine, visitors can receive special permission to tour the gardens.
Banias is a nature reserve in the Golan Heights, situated 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee and at the base of Mt. Hermon. The site was originally named “Panias” after the Greek god Pan. The remains of a temple, courtyards, a grotto and niches for rituals dedicated to the worship of Pan, dating to the beginning of the Common Era, are located here. It is home to the tallest waterfall in Israel. While there is no record of Jesus entering the city, both the great confession and the transfiguration both occurred in the vicinity of the city (Matt 16:13), known as Caesarea Philippi during the time of Jesus.
Bethsaida is an ancient city on the north side of the Sea of Galilee, located at the fertile delta of the upper Jordan River, where it enters into the Sea of Galilee. The area of Bethsaida was referred in the New Testament in conjunction with two of Jesus’s miracles: healing the blind man and the first feeding of the Multitude. It is also known as the birthplace of some of the Apostles (Andrew, Peter, Philip).
Beit Guvrin is an important archaeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage site, in southern Israel just south of Jerusalem. Beit Guvrin National Park encompasses the remains of the ancient city of Tel Maresha one of the important towns of Judah during the time of the First Temple and Beit Guvrin, an important town in the Roman era, when it was known as Eleutheropolis. The site, which covers 5,000 dunams (Approx. 5000 square meters), has a tumultuous history from the First Temple Period to modern times. Today, the caves built during the Hellenistic period are its main attraction.
Beit She’an (Scythopolis) was settled about 6,000 years ago and has remained continually inhabited since that time. Extensive excavation of a large mound in Beit She’an revealed more than 20 layers of remains from ancient civilizations. Canaanite temples pre-date occupation by the Egyptians, who where then followed by Israelite rule and then the Philistines during the Old Testament period. Beit She’an is best known as the site where King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls. The Hellenistic period followed when the city was renamed, Scythopolis, after Dionysus’ nurse, believed to have been buried here.
Benedictine Monastery, located in Abu Ghosh, is one of the most beautiful buildings preserved from the Crusader Period. During the Crusader Period (about 1,000 years ago), Abu Ghosh was ascribed as the place where Jesus revealed himself after his resurrection (Emmaus) and the monastery was built.
Bethlehem is the burial place of the matriarch Rachel and the birthplace of King David. It is recognized in the gospels of Matthew and Luke as the birthplace of Jesus and is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.
Caesarea is an ancient port on the Mediterranean coast of present-day Israel south of Haifa, and for many years served as ancient Israel’s capitol. There are archeological remains from the Hellenistic period (3rd century BCE) to the Crusader period (the 12th century). Caesarea was given to King Herod the Great as a present by Augustus Caesar.
In the Byzantine period Caesarea was an important Christian center. According to Christian tradition, it was here that:
- The first idol worshipper, the Roman centurion Cornelius, was converted by Simon Peter.
- Pontius Pilate governed during the time of Jesus.
- The apostle Paul was imprisoned for two years and preached to the last of the Herods, King Agrippa.
- The early Fathers of Written Christian church history, (Origen and Eusebius) lived.
In Jewish history, Caesarea was where the Romans tortured and executed Rabbi Akiva following the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE.
Visitors can see the Roman and Crusader ruins, and where the Romans held Paul prisoner.
Caesarea Philippi is the location of one of the largest springs feeding the Jordan River. It is situated 25 miles north of the Sea of Galilee and at the base of Mt. Hermon. While there is no record of Jesus entering the city, the great confession and the transfiguration both occurred in the vicinity of the city (Matt 16:13), then known as Caesarea Philippi. In the winter before His death Jesus Christ brought His disciples to Caesarea Philippi where He revealed to His disciples for the first time that He was indeed the Jewish Messiah.
Cana, known today as Kafr Kanna, has long been revered as the site of Jesus’s first miracle or turning water into wine at a wedding. Excavations in the area have uncovered ruins of houses from the 1st-4th centuries AD, of a 5th-century atrium with portico, a Christian funerary building from the 5th or 6th century and a medieval building.
Capernaum was a large Galilean fishing village and busy trading center. The village played an important part in Christ’s life and ministry, and in his outreach to the people of Israel. Peter, Andrew, James and John also lived in Capernaum. This ancient city was abandoned more than a thousand years ago and was rediscovered by archaeologists in the 1800s.
Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem is a Christian and Muslim holy site believed to mark the place where Jesus ascended into heaven. The small round church/mosque contains a stone imprinted with the Jesus’s footprints.
Chapel of Flagellation is located on the eastern side of Via Dolorosa inside the Old City of Jerusalem. According to tradition, this was the site where the Roman soldiers flogged Jesus after he was convicted and sentenced to death. Today, the chapel is notable for its stained-glass windows behind the altar and on either side of the sanctuary. They show Pilate washing his hands, Jesus being scourged and Barabbas expressing joy at his release. On the ceiling above the altar, a mosaic on a golden background depicts the crown of thorns pierced by stars.
The Christian Quarter is of immense significance to members of all Christian denominations. Located in Old Jerusalem, it is the site of the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus walked at the time of his arrest. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest Christian shrine in Israel, is also located here. It is within the shrine where many believe Christ is buried.
Church of All Nations, officially known as Basilica of the Agony, is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. The church enshrines a section of stone in the Garden of Gethsemane that is believed to be where Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest (Matthew 26:36)
Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth stands over the cave that tradition holds to be the home of the Virgin Mary. It is believed that it is here, where the archangel Gabriel told the young Mary that she would become the mother of the Son of God.
Church of Dominus Flevit is believed to mark the place where Jesus’s mourning over Jerusalem occurred. The Franciscan church, located in the upper western slope of Mount of the Olives, was constructed in 1954 in the shape of a teardrop to symbolize the Lord’s tears.
Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu was built in 1931 in the slopes of Mount Zion. The church marks the place of the palace of high priest Caiaphas, where Jesus was brought to jail after his arrest. Its name (Gallicantu, means the cock’s crow) is given after the story of Peter’s triple denial of Christ and the cock crowing twice.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre was originally built by the mother of Emperor Constantine in 330 A.D. The church commemorates the hill of crucifixion and the tomb of Christ’s burial. The church is a major pilgrimage center for Christians all around the world.
Church of the Primacy of St. Peter was built by the Franciscans in 1933 and marks the place where Jesus confirmed Simon Peter as the supreme shepherd of his Church. It is built on top of the ruins of two older churches. Both churches were centered on a rock known as “Mensa Christi” or “The Table of Christ,” which is still venerated today before the altar, as the place where Jesus ate breakfast with his Apostles.
Church of the Visitation is built over the home of John the Baptist’s parents in Ein Karem. The pregnant Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, visited her pregnant cousin Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, and stayed for three months. According to Luke 1:56, “Upon Mary’s arrival the unborn John the Baptist recognized the unborn Jesus and, ‘leapt with joy,’ in Elizabeth’s womb.” This event is the Visitation and the church stands over the site where this event took place. It is the site where tradition tells us that Mary recited her song of praise, “The Magnificat.”
City of David is the birthplace of the city of Jerusalem. In 1004 BCE King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established his capital there. It is an archaeological site of what is known as Ancient Jerusalem. The area is one of the most intensively excavated sites in the region.
Cloister of St. Jerome is the cave where St. Jerome spent 30 years translating the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. He began his task around AD 386. The text he produced in the cave, known today as the Cloister of St. Jerome, was the first official vernacular version of the Bible. Known as the Vulgate, it remained the authoritative version for Catholics until the 20th century.
Convent of the Sisters of Zion is a 19th Century monastery built on the west hill of Ein Karem. The convent is named for the Ecce Homo arch that crosses the Via Dolorosa outside. The arch (part of which has been enveloped by the wall of the convent) was at one time thought to be the gate of Herod’s Antonia Fortress, which was the spot that Pontius Pilate took Jesus out and proclaimed ‘Ecce Homo’ (Behold, the man!). Recent archaeological findings dispute this as the arch and consider this to be a 2nd-century triumphal arch built by the Roman emperor Hadrian.
The Davidson Center, officially known as the Ethan and Marla Davidson Exhibition and Virtual Reconstruction Center is situated at the entrance to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, one of the largest, most significant archaeological sites in the country. It is some 100 meters south of the Temple Mount complex, in the recently excavated and restored underground storage complex belonging to a seventh century Umayyad Palace.
The Davidson Center employs some of the most technologically advanced computer graphics. One of the highlights is a real-time virtual reality reconstruction of the Herodian Temple Mount as it stood prior to its destruction by Roman troops in the year 70 CE Real-time technology allows users to interact with the computer environment, enjoying freedom of movement as in the physical world.
Dead Sea. This is the lowest place on earth, at roughly 1,300 feet below sea level. The Dead Sea’s salinity prevents the existence of any life forms in its waters. That same salt provides tremendous relief to many ailing visitors who come to benefit from its healing properties.
Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old Jerusalem. It was initially completed in 691 CE. The Dome of the Rock is one of the oldest works of Islamic architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritag Site.
Dormition Abbey is a massive structure that rises on Mount Zion, just outside the Zion Gate, and resembles a mighty fortress. It is built over the site where Virgin Mary is said to have fallen asleep for the last time Kaiser Wilhelm II completed the abbey at the beginning of 20th century, based on plans by Heinrich Renard who used the Carolingian cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle in Germany, as a model. Visitors from around the world come to see the mosaics and the wood-and-ivory statue of the sleeping Virgin in the crypt.
Druze. The Israeli Druze are a unique religious minority of Arab decent, living in Israel. In 2012, there were 130,000 Druze living in the country chiefly in the Carmel region, the Galilee and the Golan. The Druze in the Carmel and the Galilee are Israeli citizens. The Druze see their religion, which broke off from Islam in the 10th century in Egypt, as an interpretation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. They regard Moses, Jesus and Mohammed as prophets and have a strong belief in reincarnation. Druze religious literature is only accessible to a group of religious initiates called the Uqqal. The Druze religion accepts no converts. Their community in Israel has a special standing among its minority groups and members of its communities have attained high level positions in Israel’s political, military and public spheres.
Ecce Homo Arch in the Road of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) is the location where Jesus was sentenced. The arch (part of which has been enveloped by the wall of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion) was at one time thought to be the gate of Herod’s Antonia Fortress, which was the spot that Pontius Pilate took Jesus out and proclaimed ‘Ecce Homo’ (Behold, the man!). Recent archaeological findings dispute this as the arch and consider this to be a 2nd-century triumphal arch built by the Roman emperor Hadrian.
Ein Gedi is situated on the shore of the Dead Sea and is an oasis in the desert. The springs have supported nearly continuous inhabitation of the site since before the Bronze Age.
Emmaus is a town mentioned in the Gospel of Luke from the New Testament. Luke reports that Jesus appeared, after his death and resurrection, before two of his disciples while they were walking on the road to Emmaus.
Friends of Zion Museum is located in Jerusalem and portrays the story of the support for the Jewish people and nation of Israel by non-Jews, from the first Christian Zionists of the 19th century who encouraged Theodor Herzl to those who played active roles in the establishment of the State of Israel. It is a hi-tech, interactive museum that takes visitors on a journey from the time of Abraham to the present.
Gabbatha Pavement is a stone that was part of the Roman pavement at Jesus’s trial. It was discovered at the site of the Fortress of Antonia, located at the northwest corner of the Temple Mount. The large rectangular paving stone was part of a large limestone pavement courtyard. This particular stone has evidence of a game board that might have been used by Roman soldiers.
The Galilee is a mountainous region in Israel’s north and is divided into two main parts: the Upper Galilee to the north and the Lower Galilee to the south. It is known as the region where, according to the gospels, Jesus conducted the bulk of his ministry. Gospel authors claim that Jesus’s youth was spent in lower Galilee and his adulthood and preaching occurred around the northwestern shores of the Sea of Galilee. The towns where Jesus spent much of his time were in the Galilee.
Garden of Gethsemane contains the gnarled olive trees that are believed to have been young saplings when Jesus came here with the disciples on that fateful night after the Last Supper (Matt. 26:36; Mark 14:32; John 18:1). Today the ancient trees rise from manicured flowerbeds; in Jesus’s time this would have been an olive grove where an olive-oil press – gethsemane in Greek – was located.
Ginosar is a kibbutz on the western banks of the Sea of Galilee, in Israel. It is best known for the discovery and display of what is known as the Jesus boat, which was found in 1986, in the drought-stricken waters of Lake Kinneret. The boat, which dates back to the 1st century AD, is prominently displayed in the Yigal Allon Museum on the grounds of Kibbutz Ginosar.
Golan Heights is one of the most beautiful and most traveled parts of the country. It is abundant with wonderful scenic treasures and archeological sites. The Golan appears to have been used as a cemetery in ancient times. The area was not settled until the days of Herod the Great in the first century B.C.E.
Haas Promenade offers the most beautiful views in all of Jerusalem. The promenade is composed of three separately named portions. There are multiple observation terraces from which you can see the City of David directly ahead, the Old City directly below, and directly across the chasm to the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives and Hebrew University.
Haifa, a major industrial and shipping center located in the north of Israel, is said to be the only city in the world where Jews, Christians and Muslims live and work in total harmony. It is considered the world center of the Baha’i faith. Israel’s largest Naval Base is also located in Haifa.
Hezekiah’s Tunnel is a 1750-foot (530m) water tunnel carved under the City of David in Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah to bring water from one side of the city to the other. Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the 6th century tunnel of Euphalios in Greece are considered the greatest works of water engineering technology in the Pre-Classical period.
Inn of the Good Samaritan is a real-life site, based on the parable. The location, beside the road going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, fitted Jesus’s parable about the man who “fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:25-37). The site served as a hostel, with remains from the Roman period to the Ottoman period. A new archaeological museum opened at the site, focusing on ancient Mosaics collected from excavations across the West Bank and Gaza.
Israel is regarded as the biblical Holy Land by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Its most sacred sites are in Jerusalem. Within the Old City, the Temple Mount complex includes the Dome of the Rock shrine, the historic Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its financial hub, Tel Aviv, is known for Bauhaus architecture, beaches and nightlife.
Israel Museum, founded in 1965, is Israel’s national museum and one of the largest museums in the Middle East. It is located in Jerusalem, near the Knesset and the Israeli Supreme Court. An urn-shaped building on the grounds of the museum, known as the Shrine of the Book, showcases the Dead Sea Scrolls and other artifacts discovered at Masada. The museum also houses a 21,520-square foot model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period.
Jaffa is one of the world’s oldest ports and is thought to have been the port from which Jonah left in the story of the whale. It served as the main entry point to the land of Israel through until the late 19th century when Jews from around the world began to return to the land of their forefathers.
Jericho is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world with the oldest known protective wall. Archeologists have unearthed remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (9000 BCE, almost to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch of the earth’s history).
Jerusalem has been a place of pilgrimage and worship for Jews and Christians since the biblical era and for Muslims since the inception of Islam. Considered one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit by Time magazine*, it is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians; and the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list in 1981.
The Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem is situated on the southern side of the Old City. This area began becoming the Jewish Quarter in the middle of the 13th century C.E., when the Spanish rabbi and philosopher Nachmanides re-established Jerusalem’s Jewish community following the Crusades. The oldest synagogues, which are more than 400 years old, are built below street level because at the time they were constructed Jews and Christians were prohibited from building anything higher than Muslim structures.
Jordan River runs through the land and history of the Bible, giving its waters a spiritual significance that sets it aside from other rivers. The Jordan is significant for Jews because the tribes of Israel under Joshua crossed the river on dry ground to enter the Promised Land after years of wandering in the desert, and it is significant for Christians because John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the waters of the Jordan. Flowing southward from its sources in the mountainous area where Israel, Syria and Lebanon meet, the Jordan River passes through the Sea of Galilee and ends in the Dead Sea.
Judaean Desert / Jehuda Desert lies east of Jerusalem and west of the Dead Sea. The Desert played an important role in the Jewish kingdoms during the biblical times and also during the Greek and Roman times. Today, it offers spectacular views, unique desert flora and fauna, and is the site of ancient monasteries and Bedouin camps.
Katzrin, the capitol of the Golan Heights, is named after the ancient town of Katsrin, whose ruins are located in the nearby Katsrin Antiquities Park. It is known for its landscapes and quality of life. Its location allows easy access to many nature reserves, historic and archeological sites, riverbeds and visitor centers.
Kotel ha-Ma’aravi (Western Wall), also known as the “Wailing Wall,” is one of the holiest places of the Jewish faith and is often the highlight when visiting Jerusalem. It was one of four outside retaining walls Herod the Great built to support the Temple Mount on which the Second Temple was built. This Western wall was the only outer wall left standing when Rome destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE. We highly recommend planning a visit, whether with our tour or on your own. http://www.thirdtemple.com/KotelCam.htm
Magdala, known as the crossroads of Jewish and Christian history, is a unique Holy Land site. It is the birthplace of Mary Magdalene and was a prosperous fishing village at the time Jesus was active in the region. Archaeologists uncovered the remains of a village dating from the time of Jesus and a synagogue, only one of seven ever found from the time of Jesus.
Mary of Nazareth International Center opened in 2011 in a renovated building from the Ottoman era. It contains the remains of an ancient house that archaeologists believe is from the Jewish village of Nazareth at the time of Jesus and Mary. The Center is a non-profit project of the French Association Marie de Nazareth (MDN) and is run by the Chemin Neuf (New Way) Community, a Roman Catholic community with an Ecumenical vocation. Members include men and women, consecrated lay brothers and sisters, priests, ministers and married couples, united in their desire to work for the unity of the Church of Christ and for peace in the world.
Mary’s Well, known as the Spring of the Virgin Mary, is considered the actual site where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she would bear the Son of God. Found just below the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in modern-day Nazareth, the well was positioned over an underground spring that served for centuries as a local watering hole for the Arab villagers and was almost the sole water source of Nazareth in ancient times. It is believed that Mary drew water from there.
Masada was the last stronghold held by the Jewish Zealots who refused to submit to Roman occupation. When they could no longer hold out, Masada became the backdrop for one of the most dramatic scenes in Jewish history. The Zealots who bravely fought, despite being outnumbered, finally succumbed to the Roman siege in 73 or 74 C.E. Rather than allow themselves to be taken prisoner and enslaved, they chose to commit mass suicide. The camps, fortifications and attack ramp constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day. Masada was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001.
Megiddo is one of the most intensively inhabited sites in Israel, with more than 25 levels of settlement, spanning 3,000 years. It has seen more battles than any other location in history and is believed by many Christians to be the staging ground for the final battle prior to Christ’s return (The Armageddon of Revelations 16:16). It is located on a hill (Tel Megiddo) in the Lower Galilee.
Mitzpe Ramon, known for its breathtaking landscapes, as well as the highest air quality rating in all of Israel, is a popular eco-tourist destination. The town’s name, which literally means “Ramon Lookout,” refers to the Ramon Crater stretching beneath it. The crater’s name, in turn, derives from the Roman caravans passing through it on the ancient Incense Route.
Monastery of the Temptation is a gravity-defying monastery that appears to cling to the sheer face of the Mount of Temptations that is traditionally regarded as the mountain on which Christ was tempted by the devil during his 40-day fast.
Mount Bental is a dormant volcano in the northeastern part of the Golan Heights. Atop the mount is a former Israeli army out-post. Visitors can descend into underground bunkers, which provide insight into life on the Israeli front lines and a view out onto the Kunetra Valley (meaning Valley of Tears). This valley was the location of the bloodiest tank battle during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Aside from the bunkers, the main draw for ascending this mountain is the breathtaking views.
Mount of the Beatitudes is a hill in northern Israel where Jesus is believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount. After spending a night in solemn meditation and prayer, on the following morning our Lord called to him his disciples, and from among them chose 12 who were to be henceforth trained to be his apostles (Mark 3:14, 15). After this solemn consecration of the 12, he descended from the mountain peak to a more level spot (Luke 6:17) and there he sat down and delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
Mount Carmel is a coastal mountain range in northern Israel, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea towards the southeast. The range is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Mt. Carmel is referenced biblically, most often as a symbol of beauty and fertility. “To be given the ‘splendor of Carmel’ was to be blessed indeed (Isa 35:2).”
Mount Gilboa, located in the Jezreel Valley, has been a place of passage for travelers in ancient and modern times. Its fertile soil makes this area the country’s breadbasket. It is known biblically from the Battle of Gilboa, fought between the Israelites and Philistines. The battle ends with King Saul’s defeat and suicide. David, who replaces Saul as King, laments his fallen king. Other citations include the Book of Judges, where the Haron Spring, located at the feet of Mount Gilboa, is mentioned.
Mount of Olives is a geographical link between the desert and the fertile Jerusalem hills, as well as a spiritual link between death and life, emphasized by the resurrection of Lazarus in Bethany. On the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives is Bethany, where a beautiful church marks the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha (John 1:11), and where visitors can descend and emerge dramatically from the traditional tomb of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead (John 11:43).
Mount Precipice is believed by many to be the site of the Rejection of Jesus. The people of Nazareth, not accepting Jesus as Messiah tried to push him from the mountain, but “he passed through the midst of them and went away,” (Luke 4:29-30).
Mount Scopus is one of the few places from which both the Dead Sea and the Dome of the Rock can be seen. It derives its Latin name from its use as a vantage point for the Roman army during its suppression of the Jewish Great Revolt, from which Titus’s legions planned their final attack on the city in 70 CE.
Mount Tabor, located east of Nazareth, at the north-east corner of the Jezreel Valley, is a round steep hill, more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Many Christians consider it “the Mount of Transfiguration.” It was also an important fortress during the First and Second Temple, Greek, Roman and Crusaders times.
Mount Zion, the highest point in ancient Jerusalem, is the area in which several key events in the early Christian church are likely to have taken place including the Last Supper, the appearance of Jesus before the high priest Caiaphas, the “falling asleep” of the Virgin Mary and the Council of Jerusalem, in which the early church debated the status of converted gentiles (Acts 15:1-29).
Muchraka (Mukhraka,), a Carmelite monastery said to be at the site where the prophet Elijah challenged the prophets of the Canaanite god Baal to a showdown in order to prove God’s might. It is located on the summit of one of Mt. Carmel’s most prominent peaks. The monastery’s church has a statue in the front yard depicting Elijah slaying the idolatrous false prophets. The church was built, according to tradition, on the foundations of an ancient Byzantine church.
Nazareth, the cradle of Christianity, is the city where the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, and it is the place where Jesus spent his childhood and youth. Nazareth is located in the heart of a valley surrounded by mountains that embrace several of the world’s most important Christian sites. This is a city of spirituality and holiness, but also a city with a rich history, fascinating archeology, modern culture and Middle Eastern charm.
Nazareth Baptist School (NBS) was established as a primary school in 1935 by Rev. Hanna Beshoti, pastor of the Baptist Church in Nazareth and supported by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention until 1991. In 1991, Southern Baptists changed their initiatives and transferred NBS to indigenous leaders. The school has been in continuous operations since its inception, except for a period during WWII. It reopened in 1949 and has remained as a premier center for K-12 learning since that time.
Netanya, known as the Israeli Riviera, is located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and is the largest city on the crossroads between Tel-Aviv and Haifa. Its central location allows easy access to sites all over the country and has made it a center for tourists as well as industrial development.
Old City (Jerusalem) is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians; and the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list in 1981.
Old Jaffa was formed in 1968 as a municipality inside of Jaffa to ensure that it retained its prosperous and historical past. Old Jaffa is one of Israel’s major tourist attractions filled with artists’ quarters, studios and art galleries. Shops catering for Judaica, archaeology, jewelry and art, line its narrow alleys that are named after the signs of the Zodiac.
Palmach Museum is an interactive museum, designed to provide visitors a sense of what is was like in the days of the Palmach, an elite fighting force of the Hagana, which later became the Israeli Defense Forces. Visitors are led through rooms, each of which encompass a part of the Palmach experience, including: a forest with real-looking trees; a room with a falling bridge and simulated explosions and; a chilling mock-up of an illegal-immigrants’ ship.
Qasar El Yahud traditionally has been viewed by many to be near the site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus (Matthew, 3: 13-17). The site is also considered to be the place where Joshua led the Children of Israel across the Jordan River when they entered Canaan.
Qumran is a ruin from the days of the Second Temple on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. A number of very important ancient manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in Qumran’s caves in 1947.
Ramon Crater is the largest of three Negev Desert craters. It contains geological formations not found anywhere else in the world. Together with magnificent panorama, it presents a fascinating story of geomorphologic evolution. The Ramon Nature Reserve encompassing the crater and the Negev Mountains surrounding it make it the largest nature reserve in Israel.
Red Sea. The Bible tells the story and miracle of Moses leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt across the Red Sea, just ahead of the Pharaoh’s pursuing army and chariots. The Red Sea today is one of the most heavily traveled waterways in the world, carrying maritime traffic between Europe and Asia. It contains some of the world’s hottest and saltiest seawater. Its name is derived from the color changes observed during extensive blooms of algae that turn the sea a reddish brown color.
Rehovot is one of the first communities founded in the modern State of Israel. It is located in the center of the country and is known as, “the city of science and culture.” It is also known as Israel’s citrus capital.
River Jordan hosts the baptismal site “Yardenit.” The Jordan River is where John baptized Jesus Christ. The site offers 12 separate baptismal pools, enabling different groups to comfortably conduct private worship ceremonies. Every year, more than half a million tourists from all over the world visit the site.
Rock of Agony is located in the Basilica of Agony at Gethsemane, in Jerusalem. It is considered to be the place where Jesus and the disciples worshiped and prayed on the night prior to his crucifixion.
St. George’s Cathedral is home to two congregations: the indigenous Palestinian Anglicans, often called the ‘Living Stones,’ and a community of expatriate English speaking members. The building of the Cathedral Church of St George’s began in 1891 under the stewardship of Bishop Blyth, the fourth Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem. The Bishop of Salisbury consecrated the Cathedral in 1898.
St. Joseph’s Church is a Franciscan Roman Catholic church in the Old City of Nazareth. It is built over an ancient cave believed by some to be the carpentry workshop of the husband of the Virgin Mary. The church stands in the shadow of the soaring cupola of the Church of the Annunciation on its southern side, just as St. Joseph himself lived in the shadow of Jesus and Mary.
St. Stephan’s Gate also known as Lions’ Gate, because of the leopards (Often mistaken for lions) that decorate the gate’s façade, is one of seven open gates in Jerusalem’s Old City walls. The entrance marks the beginning of the last walk of Jesus from prison to Crucifixion along the Via Dolorosa.
Safed, also known is Tzfat, is referred to as the “City of Kabbalah,” and is one of Judaism’s four Holy Cities. It is the highest city in the Galilee and in Israel. Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters, due to its elevation. Some of Israel’s best-known artists and artisans make their homes in the city’s expanding Artist Quarter.
Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) is Israel’s largest fresh water reservoir. It is also the country’s largest and most important source of drinking water. According to Christian tradition, Jesus lived, preached and performed miracles in the Kinneret and the surrounding region. It was here that he walked on the water and the miracle of the loaves and the fishes happened in nearby Capernaum
Second Temple was an important Jewish holy temple that stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for 420 years between 516 BCE and 70 CE. The Temple ruins that remain today represent the site of the final battle, where Jewish zealots chose to end their lives rather than live under oppressive Roman rule following the Temple’s destruction.
Shepherd’s Field, one of the most sacred places in Christianity, it is the field identified since ancient times with the shepherds who saw the Star of Nativity. It is where the Angel of the Lord visited the shepherds and informed them of Jesus’ birth.
Southern Wall of the Temple Mount was the main route for approaching and accessing the Second Temple. Excavations, begun in 1968, were among the largest earth-moving archaeological projects in Israel.
Stella Maris in Haifa is a 19th-century monastery located on the slopes of Mount Carmel. Stella Maris, which is Latin for “Star of the Sea,” refers to an early title accorded Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well as for the resplendent view. The monastery is the world headquarters of a Catholic religious order of friars and nuns, known as the Carmelites.
Tabgha, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee is the scene of many Gospel stories, including the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. Early Christians marked the site of this miracle (Matt. 14:15-21; Mark 6:35-44; John 6:1-14) with a church containing magnificent mosaics. The small loaves and fishes mosaic, marking the place where Jesus uttered a blessing over the bread, is a well-loved symbol of this place and the miracle.
Tel Aviv is Israel’s most modern metropolis with a diverse population. Its clubs, bars, thriving arts community and beaches attract an international populace to its more secular scene. The city was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2003 in recognition of its many examples of Bauhaus architecture.
Tel Aviv Museum of Art is Israel’s main art museum. It opened to the public in 1932 in the private home of Tel Aviv’s first mayor, Meir Dizengoff. Since then, it has changed location and has developed significantly.
Tel es-Sultan, the site of ancient Jericho, is one of the area’s main attractions. Little remains of ancient Jericho beyond a few piles of rocks that archaeologists believe were once parts of towers, staircases and other structures that date back at least 7,000 years. The oldest stairs and wall in the world are on the site. The layers of 23 ancient civilizations were uncovered here and may be as much as 9,000 years old.
Tel Dan is a nature reserve and the source of the Dan and Jordan rivers. It is also an archaeological site with unique remains of the Canaanite and Israelite cities and a Biblical High Place. It was here, 2,900 years ago, that King Hazael of Damascus punctuated his invasion of Israelite territory with the erection of the famous House of David inscription, the oldest document to mention the historical King David.
Temple Mount is located in the Old City of Jerusalem, and is one of the most important religious sites in the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have venerated it as a holy site for thousands of years. The First and Second Jewish temples were located there, as are now the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
Tiberius is a city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, established around 20 CE. It was named in honor of the emperor Tiberius. Known for its hot springs, Tiberius is one of Judaism’s four Holy Cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed.
Tower of David (Citadel of Jerusalem) is a medieval fortress with architectural additions from later periods. It is located near the Jaffa Gate, the historical entrance to the city. The Citadel itself has no connection to King David. The roots of this mistake date back to the Byzantine period when early Church followers misinterpreted Josephus Flavius’ writings and attributed a tower from the time of Herod to King David.
Via Dolorosa is the route that Jesus took between his condemnation by Pilate, and his crucifixion and burial. For many Christian pilgrims, walking the Via Dolorosa is the most meaningful part of their trip. Franciscans lead a weekly procession along the Via Dolorosa at 3 p.m. on Fridays. The procession begins at the Pilgrims’ Reception Center in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City (entry through the Lions’ Gate).
Western Wall (Kotel), also known as the “Wailing Wall,” is one of the holiest places of the Jewish faith and is often the highlight when visiting Jerusalem. It was one of four outside retaining walls Herod the Great built to support the Temple Mount on which the Second Temple was built. This Western wall was the only outer wall left standing when Rome destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE. We highly recommend planning a visit, whether with our tour or on your own. http://www.thirdtemple.com/KotelCam.htm
Yigal Allon Museum, located in Ginosar, houses the historic 28-foot “Jesus boat, discovered in 1986 in the drought-stricken waters of Lake Kinneret. The boat, which dates back to the 1st century AD, is prominently displayed in the Yigal Allon Museum on the grounds of Kibbutz Ginosar.