15 days tour of Egypt, Jordan and Israel
2 nights Cairo, 1 night Sinai, 1 night Petra, 1 night Amman, 5 nights Jerusalem, 2 nights Galilee, 1 night Tel-Aviv
DAY 1: We leave the States for a journey to the lands where the Bible will unfold before our eyes. We will walk, see, feel and touch the roots of our faith, encounter the divine and sense His presence.
DAY 2: ARRIVAL TO CAIRO
We will be landing in Egypt, the Land of the Pharaohs, and met by our guide who will assist us going through custom formalities. We will be transferred to our hotel for a nice welcome dinner and a good night’s rest.
DAY 3: THE PYRAMIDS
We begin our journey by going back in time to the days of Pharaoh and the Children of Israel. First, we will visit the Giza plateau, where the greatest of the three Pyramids, stands. Built approximately 4500 years ago, it is considered one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. It took 100,000 workers more than 20 years to construct this Pyramid, which contains almost 2.3 million stones each weighing about 2.5 tons. After entering the Pyramid, we will continue to the great Sphinx, located southeast of the Great Pyramids. We will view the magnificent monument, with the head of the Pharaoh and the body of a lion, carved out of solid natural rock. After lunch we will visit the first Pyramid ever built, the Step Pyramid of Zoser, in the Sakkara Complex. When Memphis was the capital of Egypt, during the Old Kingdom period, Sakkara was its necropolis. Spread over seven kilometers of desert, Sakkara is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Built during the Third Dynasty (2800 BC), the Step Pyramid set an architectural precedence for years to come. It was designed by Imhotep, a man who was believed to be a genius as he was not only an architect but also a physician, astronomer, poet and philosopher. At the end of the day, we will make a short stop at the remains in Memphis, the first capital of united Upper and Lower Egypt.
DAY 4: CAIRO - SUEZ CANAL - SINAI
Today we will be introduced to some of the masterpieces of ancient art in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. Here, we will get acquainted with some of the most important pieces in Egypt’s history, such as the vast findings of King Tutankahmun's tomb. Walking through the Museum we will understand how life was in the time of the Exodus. From the museum we will continue to the famous Khan El Khalili Bazaar, known for its narrow alleys and hundreds of shops selling all type of Egyptian handicrafts, including silver and gold jewelry. Walking through the Bazaar you will enjoy the different smells, sounds and sights of the mysterious East and have the opportunity to shop for cottons, copperware, perfumes and other Egyptian goods. After lunch, we will continue our reconstruction of the Exodus by driving across the desert towards the Sinai Peninsula. As we cross the Suez Canal we will enter from Africa into Asia, just as the Children of Israel did. We will be driving through one of the most majestic deserts in the World, known for its colorful mountains and beautiful sandy dunes, and begin to understand what it was like for the Children of Israel to wonder in the wilderness for 40 years. In the early evening we will reach the foothill of Mt. Sinai.
DAY 5: MT. SINAI - JORDAN
This morning we will open our eyes to find we are at the foothill of Mt. Sinai, where the Children of Israel waited for Moses to return with God’s law (Exodus 19). Those who wish will have a chance to climb the mountain by foot or on a camel and enjoy the sanctified view seen at the top, unchanged since creation times. Others will be able to visit the St. Catherine Monastery, the oldest church in the World. Then, we will begin driving towards the Golf of Aqabah and mount a ferry boat to take us across the Red Sea towards Jordan. Once in Jordan, we will follow the Children of Israel through the lands of the Moabaits and the Ammonaits., as we make our way to the breathtaking ancient city of Petra.
DAY 6: PETRA - MACAREUS
We will dedicate the morning to visiting Petra. Once the capital of the Nabatean people, this red city is considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. Walking or riding an Arabian horse, we will go through the “Siq”, a magnificent canyon that will take us to the Treasury Monument, carved out of the red rock. Other impressive remains are the ancient tombs, the Cardo Street, the Triumphal Arch of Adrian and the Court building. In the afternoon, we will leave Petra and begin driving up north towards Amman. On the way to Amman we will stop at Macareus Fortress, built by Herod. It was here that John the Baptist was beheaded (Mathew 14).
DAY 7: AMMAN - MADABA - MT. NEBO
Our day will begin with a visit to the citadel of Amman and a view of the ancient Philadelphia (Luke 7). After a drive through the modern neighborhoods of the city, we will continue on the King’s Highway, route of the Exodus, and reach the city of Madaba, with its mosaic floor depicting the Holy Land in the 6th century. Then, we will continue towards Mt. Nebo. It was from here that Moses looked on to the Promised Land before dieing (Deuteronomy 34). After seeing this beautiful view ourselves, we will drive to the Jordan River and cross it into Israel, at the same place where Joshua and the Children of Israel crossed the river into the Holy Land (Joshua 2). We will end the day crossing part of the Wilderness of Judea, where we will become acquainted with the Bedouin life, and start ascending to the Golden City of the Mighty King: JERUSALEM.
DAY 8: MT. OF OLIVES - NEW JERUSALEM
We will begin the day at the Mt. of Olives with a magnificent overview of Jerusalem and an explanation of its history. Then, walk down the Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane, site of Jesus' betrayal (Luke 22). We will continue to visit the City of David, Hezekiah's Tunnel and the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed the blind man, (John 9). In the afternoon we will leave the Old City and visit the modern part of Jerusalem. We will spend the first part of the afternoon at the Israel Museum. Here we will have a chance to visit the Model of Jerusalem during Jesus’ time to obtain an excellent perspective of the city at His time. We will also visit the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed, and view the ossuary of Caiphas and Pontious Pilatus stone. Finally, at Yad Vashem, the museum of the Holocaust, we will better understand the miracle of Israel’s revival and return to the Land, as promised by God.
DAY 9: OLD CITY - JEWISH QUARTER
We will begin our visit to the Old City with a quiet moment of prayer at the Wailing Wall. Then, we will visit the Temple Mount and the impressive Dome of the Rock. At the Ophel digs we will walk on the First century Street, used by pilgrims for centuries, while viewing the remains of the Temple and the steps that led to it. We will continue to the Jewish Quarter, to visit the extensive area uncovered by archaeologists, including the Burnt House and the Herodian Quarter, where we will see the interior of houses from Jesus’ time with ashes indicating Jerusalem’s destruction. We will walk through the Cardo and Hezekiahs Wall, towards the Arab Market and bazaar and leave the Old City through the Jaffa Gate.
DAY 10: DEAD SEA AREA
Today we will leave Jerusalem and descend towards the Dead Sea, located in the lowest place in the world, 1300 ft. below sea level! Our first stop will be at Ein Gedi, where David wrote some of his beautiful psalms. After a short hike we will reach the waterfall where David cut off Saul's skirt (I Samuel 24). We will continue to the astonishing ruins of Massada. Using a cable car we will reach Herod's magnificent fortress, site of Zealots' stand against Rome. Well preserved storehouses, cisterns and palaces will be among the features to visit. At noon time we will stop at Ein Bokek for lunch and a float on the salty sea. Before returning to Jerusalem, we will visit Qumran, site of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery.
DAY 11: JERUSALEM’S CHRISTIAN SITES
We will begin our last tour day in the city by retracing Jesus’ last steps in Jerusalem. After a visit to the Upper Room we will enter St. Stephen's Gate and come to the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the lame man (John 5). After a time of singing in St. Anne's Church, we will view the remains of the Antonia Fortress, site of Jesus' trial (Mathew 27). We then will follow the Way of the Cross out of the Damascus Gate to the Garden Tomb, the site of the crucifixion and culminate our tour with a communion at Calvary.
DAY 12: JERICHO - JORDAN VALLEY
We will leave behind us the magnificent city of Jerusalem and start descending down the old Jericho Road, used in Christ times (Luke 10) towards Jericho, which is not only the oldest city in the world and a beautiful oasis, but also the first to be conquered by the Children of Israel (Joshua 3). Driving up Jordan Valley we will reach Beth Shean (I Sam. 31), a Decapolis Capital mentioned in the Gospels. Here, we will walk on the ancient streets, view the steam Roman baths, the theatre, coliseum, market and temples. In the afternoon, we will begin ascending up north towards the beautiful region of the Galilee. We will drive by Mt. Gilboah, where King Saul fell on his sward and found his death (I Samuel 31). Before reaching our hotel we will stop at the Jordan River for a Baptism service in the same water Jesus was baptized in.
DAY 13: AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
Today we will be visiting the places where Jesus spent most of his public life and the sites you have read about all of your life. Using a replica of the wooden fishing boat from the disciples’ time, we will sail on the Sea of Galilee and recall Jesus’ experiences with the fishermen. Our first stop will be at Capernaum, where Jesus taught in the synagogue and spent much of His ministry (Matthew 4). Then we will continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Christ preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Driving around the lake we will visit Tabgha place of the feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14). In the afternoon, following the accounts described in the Gospel of Luke chapter 9, we will drive by Mt. Hermon, where the miracle of Transfiguration occurred, and visit the Banias, one of the headwaters of the Jordan River and site of Caesarea Philippi, where Peter confessed Christ's divinity.
DAY 14: COASTAL PLAIN
Before leaving the beautiful Galilee, we will drive by Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding feast (John 2). We will drive through Nazareth, where Jesus spent most of His life and stop at the Church of Mary's Well. The morning will be dedicated to a trip through the Valley of Jezreel. At Megido we will view the excavations of 21 superimposed cities, the remains from Solomon's days (I Kings 9). At noon, a memorable experience is awaiting for us, as we stop for a typical Falafel Meal at the Druze village of Daliat El-Carmel. Heading towards the Mediterranean, we will travel south to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah held the contest with 450 prophets of Baal (I Kings 18). Our last destination will be Caesarea, city of Cornelius the Centurion, the first Gentile to convert (Acts 10). We will visit the Roman theatre, walk on the pier used by the apostle Paul on his way to Rome and see the impressive water aqueduct built by Herod the Great. At the end of the day we will reach our hotel, on the coast of the Mediterranean.
DAY 15: Early departure for home, after fulfilling a lifetime dream of seeing, touching and breathing the very places we have only read about until now. Arriving home our Bible will never be the same, for it will be alive in front of our eyes and in our hearts for ever.