Follow the footsteps of the ancestors, walking through history and the Bible to discover the holy land.
Jerusalem: Start the day with a visit to the Tower of David Museum dedicated to the history of Jerusalem from its founding to modern times with remains said to go back to Hasmonean times.
Continue to the Jewish Quarter to visit the Broad Wall, a 2,700-year-old fortification built by King Hezekiah to save Jerusalem from the Assyrians. You can also visit the Ariel - First Temple period museum and the nearby Israelite Tower, Herodian Mansions and Burnt House, the latter two sites tell the story of this area at the time of the Second Temple.
The Jewish Quarter was home to European and Sephardic Jews during the centuries under Ottoman rule, a story told by the quarter’s Four Sephardic Synagogues and the Menahem Zion Synagogue.
Descend from the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall, the last remnant of the Herodian Temple Mount. While at the Western Wall, arrange your schedule to join a public tour of the Western Wall Tunnels by enquiring at the Western Wall Heritage Foundation (www.english.thekotel.org).
In the Southern Wall Archaeological Park, you can walk the original two thousand-year-old street and climb the ancient steps. At the Davidson Visitors Center, in the basement of an eighth-century-CE palace, make arrangements to see its virtual-reconstruction, high-definition interactive model.
End the day exploring the City of David, with remains going back to the days of the biblical king who made Jerusalem the capital of the Tribes of Israel. See the new visitors' center; walk through Warren’s Shaft, the Water Fortress where King Solomon was crowned, and through the waters of Hezekiah’s Tunnel or the adjacent “dry route”.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Today is devoted to the New City, beginning the day with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. Walk through the astounding new Museum with its new and moving focus on the individual in the Holocaust, the Children’s Memorial and Hall of Remembrance. Drive through the New City viewing old and new neighborhoods, the Knesset (The Israeli Parliament) (open for visits on Sundays and Thursdays) and the beautifully designed Supreme Court building.
At the nearby Israel Museum, among many other fascinating exhibits discover the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible, at theShrine of the Book and see the 1:50 scale Model of Jerusalem from Second Temple times.
In the afternoon, drive out to the outskirts of Jerusalem and Nebi Samuel, traditional site of the tomb of the prophet Samuel, with a mosque, a synagogue and extensive Crusader ruins. Climb to the rooftop for a spectacular view of the hills of Samaria, the heartland of the Northern Kingdom in Bible days, as well as of Jerusalem and the coastal plain.
This evening, enjoy stroll around downtown Jerusalem - walk in the pedestrian malls of Ben Yehuda Street, Nahalat Shiva, a restored quarter of shops, galleries and cafes.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Get an early start today and drive south to the Dead Sea and Massada, taking the cable car to the top to view the ruins of King Herod’s mountaintop fortress and the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 73 CE, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the new museum at the Visitor Center, which reveals the secrets of the daily life of the rebels, the story of the excavations, and how the site became one of Israel’s most important symbols.
Continue to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, a biblical oasis with a spring and waterfalls, where David hid from Saul.
Enjoy a dip in the healthful waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest, saltiest body of water on earth.
In the afternoon, drive north via the Jordan Valley to Tiberias the historic resort town on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), and one of Israel's traditional “four holy cities”.
Overnight in the Tiberias area.
Start the day at Beit She'an, and climb the biblical mound where the Philistines hung Saul’s body to be rescued by the men of Jabesh Gilead. Below, you can see the magnificent remains of the Talmudic and Byzantine cities of which the sages said “if the Garden of Eden is in the Land of Israel, its gateway is at Beit She'an”.
Visit the excavation of Talmudic-era synagogue at Beit Alpha, to view the mosaic that combines biblical and pagan themes and teaches about the Jewish religious thought at that time.
Drive to the top of Mt. Gilboa, where Saul and his three sons died in battle with the Philistines and take the Bible Route, with its view of the Jordan and Jezreel valleys, the ancient sites of Shunem, home of the Shunemite woman who encountered Elijah and where the Philistines camped before the battle, and Endor, where Saul had a sorceress called up the ghost of the prophet Samuel to learn his bitter fate.
Continue across the Jezreel Valley past Tel Jezreel, where King Ahab and his Phoenician Queen Jezebel lived, and on to visit Megiddo, where you’ll see the remains of Solomon’s gate and palaces and Arab’s water system and view of the Jezreel Valley, known as the “battlefield of the Bible,” including Mount Tabor, where Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera of Hazor. Then, take the historic Ara Valley road out to the Plain of Sharon, the Mediterranean seacoast and on to Tel Aviv.