Jerusalem and Bethlehem
Shore excursion from port of Ashdod, Israel
- Duration 10h
- Activity level medium
What you'll do
Pick up by our guide/coordinator at the port of Ashdod with a SHORE2SHORE sign and departure to the city of Jerusalem.
Our first visit will take us to the Mount of Olives, according to the Bible, the place where Jesus often prayed. It is considered one of the holiest places in the Holy Land, at its foot is the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed with his disciples after the last supper, before being arrested for the betrayal of Judas.
Then we will visit the Basilica of the Nations or the Basilica of the Agony, inside is the portion of rock on which, according to tradition, Jesus prayed the night of his arrest. The basilica rests on the foundations of two earlier temples, a Byzantine basilica of the fourth century and a twelfth century Crusader chapel, although the work on the present building was carried out between 1919 and 1924 using funds from different countries (hence the name of the nations) whose symbols appear in the mosaics on the ceiling in memory of their contribution to the construction.
We will drive to the hill of Mount Zion, the highest point of ancient Jerusalem, dominated by the Church of the Dormition, the place identified in Christian tradition as the place where the Virgin Mary died, or "fell asleep", as the name suggests, and the Upper Room (in the context of Christianity) the place where, according to the New Testament, Jesus celebrated with the apostles the Last Supper of his life, before dying on the cross.
We will enter the Old City through the Zion Gate, walk through the Armenian Quarter to the Cardo of Jerusalem, the main street of the ancient Roman cities, which ran north-south and was lined with a row of columns on each side. The Jerusalem Cardo begins at the Damascus Gate in the north and crosses the city south to the Zion Gate area. The main street of the Cardo is 12 m. wide, there are columns on both sides of the street and it was the main thoroughfare in Byzantine times.
We will reach the Western Wall or Kotel, the Wailing Wall, the holiest place in Judaism, a vestige of the Temple of Jerusalem, the most important sanctuary of the kingdom of Judah until its destruction in 70 A.D. From the square we will contemplate its three most monumental buildings: the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain.
We will continue along the Via Dolorosa until we reach the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or Basilica of the Resurrection, enjoying the many markets of the old city. The church contains, according to traditions dating back to at least the 4th century, two sacred places in Christianity: the place where Jesus Christ was crucified and the empty tomb of Jesus, where he was buried and resurrected.
Free time for lunch and departure to the city of Bethlehem.
We will walk through Manger Square to the Basilica of the Nativity, one of the oldest Christian temples in use. It was built over the cave, better known as the Bethlehem portal, where Jesus of Nazareth is traditionally believed to have been born. From the sides of the altar of the basilica winding stairs lead to the Grotto of the Nativity, a cave subway to the church itself that saw the birth of Jesus, a small and narrow place of almost rectangular shape framed by irregular walls of natural rock, which during the Byzantine era were lined with marble. To the right of the altar of this grotto is the place where it is believed that the Manger was, a 14-pointed silver star marks the exact place, in front of which there is a small altar dedicated to the Magi.
We will pass by the small Chapel of the Armenian Kings and head to the Church of the Crusaders.
To end our visit to Bethlehem, we will arrive at the entrance of the Shepherds' Field, a fenced enclosure with a wide path that runs through the park of the hill among trees and flowers that clearly evoke the place where the Angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and announced the birth of the Savior. Highlights include its fountain and the Church of the Shepherds decorated with beautiful frescoes depicting different scenes from the life of Jesus.
Return to the port of Ashdod for farewell.
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