Special Pre-Conference Tours to Religious and Historic Sites in Jerusalem
Monday, November 26
- All tours of Jerusalem depart Ramada Hotel at 09:00 and return at 16:00
- Price: $65
- All itineraries are subject to change and require a minimum of 15 participants per tour
Tour A – SOLD OUT
The Jerusalem walking tour begins with a dramatic panoramic overview of Jerusalem, both new and old, from the top of the Mount of Olives, from where the Temple Mount Esplanade of the old city is visible. From the Mount of Olives, travel by bus along the Kidron Valley and view the City Walls.
Drive to Mount Zion to visit the tomb of King David.
Enter the Old City’s Jewish Quarter via the Zion Gate and walk through the Cardo, an ancient pathway constructed in Roman times. Visit the Western Wall. In the Jewish Quarter, visit four different Sephardic Synagogues dated from the 16th century.
Visit several exhilarating excavations in the City of David – this is the area that was captured and constructed by King David some three thousand years ago. Understand the geographical significance of the ancient city of Jerusalem and the powerful water system that was constructed back then
Tour begins in the Mount of Olives, where Jesus spent much of his time teaching his disciples. From the Mount of Olives see the beautiful view of both the Old and New City of Jerusalem.
Visit the site of Mary’s Ascension, as well as the Church of Patre Nostre, located on the site in which Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples. In the Cloister, see plaques of the Lord’s Prayer, written in 123 different languages.
Walk down to the small Franciscan Church of Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept over Jerusalem and the destruction he foresaw for the city.
Proceed to the Gardens of Gethsemane and the beautiful Church of All Nations, on the spot at which Jesus prayed his last prayer and was caught and arrested by the Romans. Overlook the Valley of Kidron to see the tombs of Absalom, Jeosphate and Zaccariah from 2nd Temple period.
Enter the old city at the Lions Gate to visit the 12th century Crusader Church of St. Anne, the home of Mary and the pool of Bethesda described by Saint John in his Gospel.
Tour ends with a visit to the Abbey of Notre Dame De Sion, where striped pavement (Litho Strosos) signifies where Jesus was condemned and where the Via Dolorosa begins.
Caesarea, Acre & Rosh Hanikra
Sunday, November 25
Israel’s northern coast is home to ancient Roman ruins, stunning grottos and beautiful beaches. This day tour takes you through all of the regional highlights including Caesarea, Haifa, the Baha’i Gardens, Rosh Hanikra and Acre (Acco).
We begin the day in Caesarea, site of the ancient Roman regional capital and port. Named by Herod the Great in honor of Caesar Augustus, Caesarea was one of the most ambitious port-building enterprises of the Roman world, begun in 22 BCE. We will take you on a walking tour of the archeological remains, including the port, the city, the hippodrome and the impressive amphitheatre, and help bring this ancient city with its tumultuous history back to life.
From Caesarea we continue north to Haifa for a beautiful panoramic view of the impressive Baha’i Gardens, the city and the port. Haifa offers some of the most memorable panoramic views in Israel.
We then proceed on our journey towards Rosh Hanikra, where we take the cable car to visit the beautiful limestone grottoes on the waterfront. We will also view Israel’s border with Lebanon, situated right on top of Rosh Hanikra.
Making our way back south, we will stop in the enchanting port city of Acre or Acco, to visit the Crusader underground city and the crypt. Acre, site of Napoleon’s defeat, is rich in history, which is evident everywhere within the old city. We will walk through the old city market, bustling with the fresh finds of the local fishermen, as well as spices, vegetables and more. The market ends at the scenic harbor, where you can watch local children jump into the ocean from the remains of the old city walls.
We will walk along the waterfront, and then return to the buses for the trip back to Jerusalem.
Please bring hats and comfortable shoes.
Departure: 05:50 a.m.
Masada and Dead Sea – SOLD OUT
Thursday, November 29
Our tour to Masada and Dead Sea begins by descending from Jerusalem below sea level through the Judean Desert.
On the way you can see the inn of the Good Samaritan. We will stop to look out across the desert as we pass the point marking “sea level”.
The ancient city of Jericho can be seen in the distance. This is where Joshua’s troops caused the walls to fall (Joshua 6) and where Jesus healed the blind (Mark 10:46-52).
Arriving at Masada, we ascend the mountain by cable car to tour the 2000-year old palace built by King Herod. Herod had built a swimming pool, water cisterns, two palaces, store rooms and even a synagogue.
It was here that the Jews came to defy the Romans and in this remote spot are reported to have committed mass suicide in defiance after a long and drawn-out siege by the Roman army. We will take you through the important archaeological sites bringing this dramatic historical moment to life for you.
We leave Masada and head to the Dead Sea. The tour concludes with time to enjoy basking in the sun at the beach or floating in the mineral-rich Dead Sea, located at the lowest place on earth (400m below sea level).
You can also cover yourself from head to toe in the natural Dead Sea mud, which has unique therapeutic qualities and will leave your skin feeling soft and fresh. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to swim – the high salt content will keep you afloat.
Please bring hats, bathing suits, towels, comfortable shoes and flip flops for the beach.
Departure: 08:30 a.m.
Friday, November 30
The Bethlehem Tour begins with the Nativity Circle and a visit to Bethlehem’s Manger Square, perhaps the city’s most important square, named after the manger Jesus was born in. Manger Square is home to the Church of the Nativity, one of the world’s oldest-standing churches still functioning to this day.
We will visit the Grotto of the Nativity, a cave located under the Church, which according to Christian tradition is the place where Jesus was born. The exact spot is marked by a 14-pointed star of silver set into the floor.
We will visit the main Basilica of the Nativity, designed in the typical Roman-style Basilica, and constructed on the ruins of its predecessor in 565 AD. We will also visit the Catholic Church of St. Catherine, adjoining the Basilica of the Nativity, and the nearby Milk Grotto, where Mary nursed her son as the family was taking refuge before their flight into Egypt. A Franciscan Chapel is built above the Milk Grotto.
Our last stop will be to a beautiful overview of the Shepherds’ Fields and the special Church of the Shepherds’ Fields.
Passport compulsory / Modest dress
Tour finishes at 13:30 at Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem.
Departure: 8:30 a.m.
♦ All itineraries are subject to change.
♦ All tours depart from the Ramada Hotel (conference venue).
♦ Lunch not included.
♦ For additional tours and extensions, please contact the Secretariat.
♦ Registration for tours will end on November 21, 2018.
♦ Tours may not be cancelled after November 10, 2018.