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Signature Israel (2016)
Days: 8 | From: $5,395
Day 1: Arrive Tel Aviv, Israel
Arrive in Tel Aviv, where you are met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Caesarea & Acre | Capitals and Seaports
Take a scenic, coastal drive to the ancient Roman capital, Caesarea, where Herod laid out a classical city. Near its amphitheater, view a partial inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate. Then, visit the seaport cities of Haifa and Acre, the latter a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While at Acre, tour the Knights’ Halls, the Crusaders’ main fortress and palace; view the El Jazzar Mosque (White Mosque); and see covered markets.
Scots Hotel | Meals: B
Day 3: Sea of Galilee | Footsteps of Jesus
Cruise the fabled Sea of Galilee like a local, stopping at Capernaum and the synagogue where Jesus taught. See St. Peter’s House and Tabgha, where the miracle of the loaves and fishes is said to have occurred. Continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, the site of the Sermon on the Mount.
Scots Hotel | Meals: B
Day 4: Nazareth | Tales of the New Testament
Visit Nazareth, where Jesus spent much of his life. See the Basilica of the Annunciation, built on the traditional site of Mary and Joseph’s home; the Church of St. Gabriel; Mary’s Well, where an angel is said to have visited; and the basement of the Church of St. Joseph, purported site of Joseph’s carpentry workshop. Continue overland through the Jordan Valley to the Decapolis city of Beit Shean, historically significant because it was at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and Jezreel Valley. Arrive in Jerusalem this afternoon and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 5: Jerusalem | Spiritual Epicenter
Today, explore the fascinating, history-rich Old City of Jerusalem, built by King David in 1004 BC. Stop first at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s most sacred sites. View the Temple Mount area (Al Haram el-Sharif) with its Dome of the Rock, El Aksa Mosque and the Davidson Center, where artwork and archaeological finds take you back through the ages. In the Christian Quarter, stroll the Via Dolorosa, the street traversed by Jesus when he was bearing his cross, and stop at the Convent of Zion Sisters (Antonia Fortress), where Pontius Pilate tried Jesus. Passing the Stations of the Cross through bazaars of the Old City, arrive at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, reputed site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Day 6: Jerusalem | Yad Vashem
Pass the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) en route to the Israel Museum, where you view the Shrine of the Book, home to a selection of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. See a fascinating model of Jerusalem as it was during the time of the Second Temple. Then visit Yad Vashem, a vast Holocaust memorial on the Mount of Remembrance and a leading institution for Shoah research. Drive to Bethlehem and to the Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.
Day 7: Masada | Zealot Stronghold
Drive along the buoyant Dead Sea to Masada, where you ascend by cable car to the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots; here, Israelite fighters held out for three years against the invading Roman army before taking their own lives. Many of their fortifications, originally built by King Herod, still stand today; explore them from up close.
Day 8: Depart Tel Aviv
Transfer to the airport and board your flight.
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