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Oberammergau Passion Play Tour
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Day by Day
Today we will meet at Houston International airport for our flight to Istanbul via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day. Meals served on board.
tuesdayIstanbul, Tel Aviv
Upon arrival in Tel Aviv we are met by our guide who will be with us for the time we are in the Holy Land. Board our bus and proceed on the Mediterranean to our hotel where we will check in overnight.
wednesdayNetanya, Caesarea, Megiddo, Nazareth, Tiberias
This morning we proceed to Caesarea, capital of the Roman procurators of Judea. Visit the Roman port, Crusader's Moat, Roman theater and aqueduct. Continue to Muhraka on Mount Carmel where Elijah challenged Baal’s priests.
This afternoon, after a Middle Eastern lunch at a Druse restaurant (optional), we proceed to Megiddo to visit the excavations that unearthed 20 different civilizations. This is Michener’s “The Source”. Continue down the road to Nazareth, boyhood home of Jesus where we will go to the look out and view the entire valley. Then, it’s on to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee for dinner and overnight at our hotel. On the way, if there is time we will stop at Harod, the spring of Gideon.
thursdayHazor, Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum
This morning our drive takes us to the northern limits of Jesus' travel as we cross the River Hatzbani to Dan. Here we combine a nature walk beside the Upper Jordan with views of the ancient ruins, topped by the Israelite high place that supported a golden calf (I Kings 12). Then a short drive to Banias (Caesarea Philippi), dedicated to Pan the Greek god of pastures, flocks and shepherds; here Peter made his great profession of faith, recognition of Christ Jesus (Matthew 16).
fridayTiberias, Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, Bet Shean, Jabobs Well, Dead Sea
This morning we enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, returning to Nof Ginosar to see the New Testament boat found below the sea. Our next stop today will be at the River Jordan where we will have the opportunity to be baptized. We travel via the Crusader fortress of Belvoir along the Rift Valley to Bet Shean, where King Saul and his sons were pinned to the walls. It became the Decapolis Capital and was traveled by Jesus and known as Scythopolis. See the ancient theater, Circus Maximus and Cardo Maximo. Continue south to Jacob's Well in Nablus, where Jesus had a conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4). From here, we visit the traditional place of the patriarch Joseph’s tomb. We head down the Jordan River road and enter the Judean wilderness, on our way to the Dead Sea where we will stop for those wishing to swim. Check into our hotel on the Dead Sea for dinner and overnight.
saturdayDead Sea, Masada, Jericho, Jerusalem
This morning we will have some time for a swim in the Dead Sea or a mud bath that is cleanses many skin disorders. We then drive to Masada and ascend by cable car to the magnificent ruins of the fortress where, from 70 to 73 AD, Jewish defenders made their last stand in the Judean revolt against Rome. We see the remains of storehouses, cisterns and a sixth-century Byzantine church. Continuing alongside the Dead Sea, 1300 ft. below sea level -- the lowest spot on earth -- we stop at Ein Gedi. Here we will have time to walk to the water falls that David would have used while he was fleeing from Saul.
This afternoon we proceed to Qumran and the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We travel to Jericho, the world's oldest city. Then we head up to Jerusalem where we will enter the Golden City for a panoramic view. Continue to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
sundayMt. of Olives, Herodium, Shepherd's Fields, Bethlehem
If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace" (Luke 19:42) Our drive this morning takes us past the Chapel of Ascension and Paternoster to the Mt. of Olives for an orientation view of Jerusalem and the opportunity of a group photograph overlooking Jerusalem. We then walk the traditional Passion walk. We descend to the church known as Dominus Flevit ("Our Lord weeps"). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text and view the Church of All Nations. Enter the Old City and make our way to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, before before we proceed to the Jerusalem Archeological Park where we see the Steps that entered the temple and the Southern Wall. It was here that Jesus would have taught the disciples. See a video that shows the temple as it was at Herod's (or Jesus') time.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11). We drive to a hilltop for a view of Bethlehem, noting its relation to the rest of the central mountain range, including Jerusalem, as well as to the desert and the area of ancient Moab. This is Herodium, the palace set in a conical mountain built by Herod to mark his tomb. Note the juxtaposition of the two Kings of the Jews. The King Herod buried in great opulence and the King of the Jews born in a humble manger in Bethlehem sitting in the background of the Herodium. We then drive to one of the possible sites for Shepherds' Fields. We continue into Bethlehem itself, walking through the restored old town to the Church of the Nativity and visiting the manger and see the cave of St. Jerome. We drive back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
mondayOld City, Via Dolorosa, Garden Tomb
“He has risen!” (Mark 16:6) After breakfast we transfer to the Dung Gate, where we ascend to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, considered the third holiest site of Islam, located on the site of the ancient Temple Mount. Here the first and second Temples once stood. Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church. The church is perfectly preserved from the Crusader period – with remarkable acoustics. Continuing on we see Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Chapel of Flagellation, Lithostrotos, and the Arch of Ecce Homo (Behold the Man). We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) through the bazaars as far as the Holy Sepulcher. From there we walk from the Christian Quarter along the Arab Souks through the Cardo Maximo and past the Armenian Quarter. Continuing on to Mount Zion we visit the Upper Room and the Tomb of King David, and then to the grounds of a church called Peter in Gallicantu, which affords the best view of early Jerusalem from the west. (Here, the Assumptions Fathers suggest, was the house where the High Priest Caiaphas interrogated Jesus). We board our bus to the Garden Tomb where we will end our day with a special visit and the possibility of having a private communion on the grounds outside the city walls. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
tuesdayJerusalem, Rabbi Tunnel, Free Afternoon, Yad Vashem, Shrine of the Book
This morning we will board our bus for our exciting tour to the famous Rabbi Tunnel . Here we will enter by the Western wall plaza and go down to the foundation of the Second Temple. We will see a model that will demonstrate where we are in location to the Temple in the time of Christ. Continue along the tunnel as we proceed to the Gateway of the Priests entry to the Holy of Holies. For those wanting free time in Jerusalem or to relax, the bus will take you back to the hotel.
For those wanting to continue the tour, this afternoon we will head to Yad Vashem and see the Museum of the Holocaust. Continue to Shrine of the Book and the model city of Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
We transfer to the Ben Gurion airport for our flight home with unforgettable memories to cherish always. Knowing we have walked in the footsteps of Jesus and the early Christians on such a memorable tour will bring new meaning to our Bible reading.