Depart for Israel.
Arrive Israel; After you clear passport control, our representative will meet you and assist with directions and collection of your luggage. Exit to the arrival concourse where you will be met by your guide and transferred to Tel Aviv.
The Coastal Road
At dawn, those who wish will proceed to the crusader town of Jaffa for sunrise pictures overlooking the Mediterranean and a tour of this restored fortress, now an artist colony located within Tel Aviv. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Travel north along the Highway, parallel to the Mediterranean Sea to the excavated Herodian city of Caesarea, one of King Herod’s major accomplishments. Walk through the theatre, still in use to this day and the hippodrome, site of “Ben Hur” type races and gladiator forum. View the amazing aqueduct that used to bring water into the Roman city. Located on the beach it is one of the favorite spots for beach photography in Israel. Continue to the modern port city of Haifa ascending Mt Carmel for a breathtaking view of the Bahai Gardens and golden shrine. Driving down to the area of the German Colony, an opportunity to view the old homes built in the 19th century and today a centre for good restaurants, coffee shops and beautiful reconstructed buildings. Travel on to the ancient Crusader City of Akko. Marvel at the massive excavations of the castle. Tour the underground city walking through secret refuge tunnels and enjoy the historic Hammam (Turkish hot bath display). On top of the Crusader city the Ottomans built the main prison, which was also used in the 1940’s by the British to imprison Jewish freedom fighters. A number of executions as well as massive prison breaks have added to its rich history. There is time to stroll along the narrow lanes of the ancient city, visit the colorful market, the old Caravan Serai (Khan) and walk along the city ramparts in this amazing city.
The Road To The Galilee
Today your photo opportunities will include sites in the northern region of Israel. Drive eastward towards the ancient city of S’fat known as the center of Kabala, the Jewish Mystics studies. Along the way we will pass a group of Tombs that date back many centuries.
You will see the large round boulders that have been rolled away to reveal the interiors, now empty.
In S’fat, walk the alleys visiting 16th century Synagogues and enjoy the lovely artist quarter.
Continue north to Banias, the major source of the Jordan River and the nature reserve of Tel Dan.
The highlight of today’s visit will be to the bird sanctuary of “Agamon Hachula”, a nature photographers’ heaven and one of the largest bird sanctuaries in Europe. It is a rest stop for thousands of migrating birds traveling between Europe and Africa.
Travel in Golf Carts and hide in special “hiding trolleys” allowing you to take pictures of birds from close distances. Arrive at a Kibbutz Guest House.
Overnight: Upper Galilee
Galilee And Golan Tour
Today tour the holy sites related to Jesus’ ministry located around the Sea of Galilee. We view the Mt of Beatitude and Tabgha.
At Capernaum we will stop and explore the ancient synagogue ruins. Enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and see the “Jesus Boat” recently found in the mud depths of the sea and restored after being buried for over 1700 years.
We drive to the southern Golan Heights. Visit Katzrin and enjoy a winery tour with wine and olive oil tasting.
Not far from here is Gamla, the historic site relating the battle between the ancient Jewish defenders and the Roman legions. Capture the beauty of the mustard seed plants as they come into their springtime blooming (subject to seasonJ!). Overnight: Upper Galilee
The Road To Jerusalem
Check out after breakfast and depart southward. Pass by Tiberias and stop at Yardenit, traditional baptismal site at the Jordan River.
South of here is Beit She’an, one of the largest Roman/ Byzantine cities ever excavated in the Middle East. We will stop for a tour and photo opportunities.
You will see ruins of a Roman theatre that are now restored and used for performances; residential buildings, a colonnaded street / market and an impressive water supply system.
Continue on to Tzippori, (Sepphoris), a wonderful ancient site known for its amazing mosaic works where one of the female images on one of the mosaic floors is known as the “Mona Liza of the Galilee”.
This village may have been the birthplace of Mary. Our bus travels through Samaria. Note the change from greenery to the Judean Desert. We take a turn west and climb the Hills to approach Jerusalem.
Full Day at The Dead Sea Region
Travel outside of Jerusalem south east to the Dead Sea. You will have the opportunity to visit Wadi Kelt a great canyon gorge in the Judean wilderness. We travel as close as we can by bus and then after a short hike we’ll arrive for photo opportunities of the St.
George Monastery built on the mountain cliff. Continuing on we’ll pass the marker for Sea level and travel south to Masada. Ascend by cable car to King Herod’s mountaintop fortress, last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots during the Roman occupation of Judea. The archeological restoration of the Fortress, Herod’s Palace, synagogue, baths and Roman camps is a highlight of the day. a highlight of the day. At the base you are hundreds of feet below sea level. At the top of Masada (still below sea level) you’ll have an outstanding overview of the Dead Sea itself.
Off to Kibbutz Qumran, for lunch and then free time to enjoy the beach and a float on the salty mineral laden waters before returning to Jerusalem.
The Old City Of Jerusalem
Spend the day exploring the old city with its Christian, Jewish, Armenian and Muslim quarters, alleyways and religious sites. Observe the people and excavations as we are guided through the Temple Mount, Southern Wall excavations and Western Wall. Spend time walking along the Via Dolorosa observing pilgrims from all over the world on their personal pilgrimage mixed with the local merchants and shoppers rushing along these same alleyways. A unique photo opportunity will include a walk along the ancient city ramparts and a special walk on the roof tops of the old city exploring special new angles including an amazing Ethiopian “village” hiding on top of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We will spend time in the Church and then proceed to the ancient City of David for walk through the Hezekiah tunnel. Later in the afternoon, visit the colorful open market at Machane Yehuda. See Jerusalem’s authentic faces, foods and people. In the evening, wander along Jerusalem’s busiest retail shopping areas, Ben Yehuda Street or Mammilla Street. Overnight: Jerusalem
Mt Scopus And The New City Of Jerusalem
The tour will start with the amazing view from Mount Scopus where some of the best pictures of Jerusalem can be taken. We will visit the spectacular Center for Near East Studies, a division of Brigham Young University. Our day will continue at Yad Vashem Memorial, honoring victims of the Holocaust. The property contains the Children’s Memorial, Valley of the Communities, Hall of Remembrance as well as the exhibit presenting the events of the Holocaust. We then visit the Israel Museum where you will see the miniature replica of the city of Jerusalem as it is thought to have been during the period of the 2nd Temple in the 3rd century. Feel free to wander through the outdoor sculpture garden, a great opportunity for art photo shooting. Stop at the new amazing cables/strings bridge built by World-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. Return to the hotel and capture the sunset from the outdoor terrace. Overnight: Jerusalem
Mt Of Olives, Garden Of Gethsemane And Garden Tomb, Bethlehem
Proceed to the Mount of Olives for the spectacular view of the Old City. Experience a downhill walk through the ancient Jewish Cemetery. As we proceed special attention should be paid to the Church of Mary Magdalene. As we continue down the Mount we come upon the Orson Hyde Park that was dedicated in 1973. We then enter the Garden of Gethsemane admiring the ancient Olive trees and Church of All Nations. We continue to the Garden Tomb and enjoy the serenity of this holy location. Carry your passports with you today as we drive south to the Israeli Palestinian border to enter Bethlehem. Our afternoon includes a full tour of Manger Square and Church of the Nativity. Return to Jerusalem. Overnight: Jerusalem
RETURN TO USA – OR Optional Extension To: Madeba Mt Nebo Petra
You may choose to return to the USA today. Free day at the hotel with evening departure to the airport for return flight to USA…….OR….OPTIONAL EXTENSION…. After breakfast we depart Jerusalem and cross the Israeli-Jordanian border at the Allenby Hussein Bridge. Drive to Madeba to see the ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land and ruins of historical sites. Continue about 10km, to Mount Nebo, from where Moses viewed the Promised Land. From there you will see the Jordan Valley, Jericho, the Dead Sea and more. Visit the remains of the Byzantine Church with its mosaic floor and proceed via Shobak, the crusaders castle, to Wadi Mussa, the modern village of Petra. Be prepared for outstanding dusk photo opportunity. Overnight: Petra, Jordan
After breakfast, leave the hotel and ride on horseback into the “Siq” (Canyon). Then, continue by foot as we actually enter to Petra, also known as “Sela Edom” or red rock city, the ancient capital of the Nabateans from the 3rd Century BC to the 2nd Century AD. Visit the most interesting carved monuments such as the Treasury (El Khazneh ─ a tomb of a Nabatean king), then the field of tombs, obelisks, the altar and more. From this point you can view the whole of the rock city. We will spend the entire day in Petra to afford you every opportunity for photos. Overnight: Petra, Jordan
Petra – Tel Aviv
Take advantage of sunrise photography and then depart Petra, returning across the Jordan River and on to Tel Aviv for return flights to the USA. (Do not schedule flights earlier than 10PM this last night).
*Itinerary is subject to change pending circumstances beyond our control*