We will encounter and acquire intimate knowledge of the 1 square kilometer that has for centuries been a religious focal point for multiple religions as well as cause for numerous disputes and wars.
We shall begin our day on the Temple Mount which is one of the most important and holiest places in the world. At the edge of this site stood “Antonia”, the fortress in which Pontius Pilates the Roman Prefect sentenced Jesus to death two thousand years ago. From there begins the “Via Dolorosa”, the route Jesus walked from his trial to Crucifixion Hill. We shall visit all the 14 stations and hear their stories. The last 5 stations are situated within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher that has attracted thousands of pilgrims and tourists for almost 17 centuries. We shall complete our tour near the Wailing Wall with an understanding of the magnitude of King Herod’s temple project and Jewish sentiments towards this holy place.
Duration: 3-4 hours walking.
Jerusalem – Where it all began
The history of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish nation begins on a small hill called the City of David. We will begin our tour at a panoramic view point where we will gain a better understanding of how Jerusalem is surrounded by taller mountains and why this small hill was chosen to be the capital city.
We will 35look at the monumental wall that archaeologists believe to be part of King David's palace with many remnants from the Judean kingdom bringing the Bible to life.
Water supply has always been a big issue in Jerusalem. We will trace the water projects from the Canaanite era. You will be able to walk through King Hezekiah's Siloam tunnel which still runs with Siloam spring water. From there we will follow the street that the Jewish pilgrims walked towards the temple. After seeing the huge stones that fell during the Roman destruction of the temple, we will finish our tour near the Western Wall looking out on to a street from King Herod's time.
Duration: 3-4 hours walking.
Jerusalem - Following Jesus’s last week
We will begin the tour on mount Scopus. Here Jesus spent his last week in Jerusalem and here was the last time he was seen by his followers. We will visit the Pater Noster Church and the Crusader Church of the Ascension that was converted into a mosque. On our way towards the Kidron valley we will see the beautiful Dominos Flevit Church that was designed in the shape of a tear. Within a few minutes’ walk we will reach Gethsemane Garden and the Agony Church. Here Jesus prayed during the last night before he was arrested and put on trial. On our way towards the city within the walls we’ll see the cave where Jesus's disciples waited for him when he prayed at Gethsemane Garden. We’ll visit Bethesda Pool where Jesus cured a lame man and then one by one we’ll visit all the stations of the Via Dolorosa to the sepulcher church. We will end our tour by visiting Cenaculum where Jesus and his disciples ate their last supper and the Peter Ingallicanto church where Jesus was incarcerated on his last night.
Duration: 6-8 hours. A fair amount of walking is required but the unique experience is well worth it.
3 eras of Jewish independence in Jerusalem
In this rather unusual tour, we’ll explore how Jewish rulers in the times of the first temple; the second temple and since Israel became a state have strived to build and defend Jerusalem. We’ll begin near the Jaffa gate to see a portion of the city wall which was built by one of the Hasmonean kings. We’ll go up to Mount Zion to see another part of that old wall which was built on top of a much older wall from the times of king Hezekiah. On mount Zion, we will find the tomb of king David.
From there we’ll enter via the Zion gate and hear about the last effort to save the Jewish quarter during Israel's War for Independence in 1948. We’ll honor the place where the soldiers who defended the Jewish quarter were buried. After taking a look at “The Hurva” synagogue that was blown up by the Arabs and has now been rebuilt, we’ll see the wide wall – a portion of wall that was built to withstand the Assyrian assault in the year 701 BCE. In the “Herodian neighborhood museum” you’ll be able to feel how rich the Jerusalem upper class of king Herod’s time were and yet how they continued to keep Jewish religious laws. From there we’ll head to the Temple Mount to understand Herod’s gigantic project. King Herod’s reign was the last accord of a relatively short period of Jewish independence, fought for, achieved and ruled by the Hasmonean family in the midst of the second century BCE, which was lost again after the death of king Herod.
Duration: 3-4 hours of walking.