Search for images and articles on any of the archaeological sites or geographic areas at these websites. Many of these are linked at various places in the itinerary below:
The daily schedule and all visits to sites are subject to change depending on local conditions and available time. The identification of “Living Stones” guest speakers is illustrative. All have been guest speakers on past tours. Most of the accommodations listed below have been confirmed.
Monday, April 28, 2014: Depart from various North American destinations.
Days after Arrival:
- Tuesday, April 29. Arrive in Amman, Jordan. Overnight in Amman at the Grand Plaza Hotel.
- Wednesday, April 30. Drive to Petra, stopping at Mt. Nebo, Madaba, Kerak (crusader castle). Overnight near Petra at the Taybet Zaman Hotel (a restored 19th century Jordanian village).
- Thursday, May 1. Full day walking tour of the rock city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. See also the information about Petra at the Visit Jordan website. Drive to Amman for overnight at the Grand Plaza Hotel.
- Friday, May 2. Cross the Jordan River at the Allenby Bridge and drive to Bethlehem. Read the National Geographic article (Dec. 2007) on Bethlehem and a response to it by Omar Tesdell. Overnight in a homestay in Bethlehem or at the Casa Nova Palace Hotel or the Pilgrim Residence Hotel.
- Saturday, May 3. Begin the day by visiting one of the traditional sites of the “Shepherds’ Fields.” Experience the contrast between shepherds and kings by visiting King Herod’s Summer Palace (Herodium). According to the historian Josephus Flavius, Herod wanted to be buried in Herodion, the place which bore his name. On May 8, 2007, it was announced by the Hebrew University that the long search for Herod’s tomb had ended with the exposure of the remains of his grave, sarcophagus and mausoleum on Mount Herodium's northeastern slope. Living Stones Conversations: Zoughbi Zoughbi of Wi’am Conflict Resolution Center; get close to the Wall from the Bethlehem side; possible visit to a Palestinian refugee camp. End the afternoon with a visit to the Church of the Nativity, a marvelous Byzantine church built over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. Possible Living Stones conversation in the evening with a faculty member at Bethlehem Bible College. Overnight at the Casa Nova Palace Hotel or the Pilgrim Residence Hotel.
- Sunday, May 4. Worship at one of the churches of Bethlehem (e.g. Lutheran Church) or there will be some free time in the afternoon for exploring Bethlehem. Possible Living Stones Conversation with a faculty member at Bethlehem Bible College. Overnight in a homestay in Bethlehem.
- Monday, May 5. Living Stones Conversation with Mr. Ardie Geldman in the Jewish settlement in Ephrat (9:00 a.m.). Travel to Hebron to visit Il Ibrahimi Mosque (where the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs are buried). The cave was purchased by Abraham as a burial place for his wife Sarah. in the Bible see Gen 13:18; 23:2, 19; 35:27; 37:14; Joshua 10; Judges 1:20; 16:3; David in Hebron, 2 Samuel 2-5; 15. The Tomb of the Patriarchs is the world's most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people, after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It is the most splendid example of Herodian architecture in the land. Spend time with the Christian Peacemaker Team (11:00 a.m.) to hear of their efforts towards peace and reconciliation in the region. If time permits, visit glass factory in Hebron (photo gallery). Overnight at the Intercontinental Hotel in Jericho (click here for travelers’ photos).
- Tuesday, May 6. After an early morning visit to St. George’s Monastery in the Wadi Qilt, continue by bus toward the Dead Sea. Visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found (read article), visit Masada (more photos and an article), float in the Dead Sea, and take a nature walk to the waterfalls at Ein Gedi (David’s hideout from King Saul; 1 Samuel 24). Overnight at the Intercontinental Hotel in Jericho.
- Wednesday, May 7. Start the day with a visit to the ancient site of Jericho (and, of course, “Zacchaeus’s tree”). Then make our way up the Jordan valley to the Sea of Galilee. On the way, visit the ancient Roman city of Bet Shean (read more), and the Beth Alpha Synagogue (read more), before reaching overnight accommodation in Nazareth at the Sisters of Nazareth Guest House. There may be time for a swim during the lunch hour at a delightful national park, Gan HaSheloshah. Living Stones conversation with Dr. Raed Muallem, a professor at the Nazareth Academic Institute (after supper).
- Thursday, May 8. In Nazareth visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, St. Joseph’s Church; Nazareth Village tour and lunch. After lunch visit the ancient city of Sepphoris (read article). Overnight at a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee (which means we’ll be swimming to cool off after a long day of touring!).
- Friday, May 9. The Ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee: Visit Mt. of Beatitudes (also here), Capernaum (also here; and read article), Tabgha/Heptapegon (Church of the Multiplication; read article), Primacy of Peter, and Chorazin. Experience the delights of a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. If there is time, drive to Mt. Arbel for views over the Sea of Galilee. Overnight at a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee.
- Saturday, May 10. Explore northern Galilee: Caesarea Philippi (article on Banyas), the site where Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt 16:15); visit the ancient site of Tel Dan and visit the high place where Jeroboam son of Nebat set up a golden calf (read article); take a nature hike along the headwaters of the Jordan to the falls. Possible visit to Gamla, an ancient Jewish city on the Golan Heights. Overnight at the at a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee.
- Sunday, May 11. Drive to Jerusalem. Begin with an early morning visit to the ancient site of Megiddo (read article). The name of the site comes from the words har megiddo in Hebrew, from which the word “Armageddon” is derived. Before lunch, visit the site that commemorates Elijah’s contest with the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel (Muhrakha). Have lunch in Daliyat el Carmel (visit Druze weaving shop Goblens Art and Fashion). In the afternoon visit Caesarea Maritima (a Roman capital of Palestine; read article) with its magnificent harbor, theater and aqueduct constructed during the reign of Herod. It was here that Peter explained the way of salvation to Cornelius. If there is time, we may stop in Jaffa on our way to Jerusalem. Overnight in Jerusalem at the Gloria Hotel inside the Old City.
- Monday, May 12. Bus transfer to the top of the Mt. of Olives. Walking tour of the “Passion Route” (or Holy Week): begin on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, getting as close to Bethany and Bethphage as possible. Visit Church of the Ascension, Pater Noster Church, the shrine of Dominus Flevit (“Jesus Wept”), Jewish Cemetery, Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations, through the Kidron Valley. Bus to Mt. Zion to visit the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (“cock crow”; the traditional site of Caiaphas’s house). Bus to St. Stephen’s Gate and walk the Via Dolorosa inside the Old City, beginning with the crusader St. Anne’s Church and Bethesda Pool (John 5). From there walk along the Via Dolorosa to Church of the Resurrection/Holy Sepulcher (read article). Since this is the day when we will reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross, you might want to read Dennis Bratcher’s article on Stations of the Cross. Overnight in Jerusalem at the Gloria Hotel.
- Tuesday, May 13. Ancient Jerusalem Walking tour, including City of David (8:30 a.m.; read article), Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Pool of Siloam (some may wish to walk through the tunnel; bring your lights). Visit the Jewish Quarter, including the Cardo; Houses from the Herodian Period at the Wohl Archaeological Museum, and the “Burnt House.” If there is time, become acquainted with the Armenian Quarter, including St. James Church. Possible Living Stones Conversation with Ophir Yarden (5:00 p.m.). Mr. Yarden is Director of Educational Initiatives, The Center for Interreligious Encounter with Israel. Overnight at the Gloria Hotel.
- Wednesay, May 14. “Temple Day”: Early morning visit to the Temple Mount/Haram esh Sharif : the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. Continue to the Archaeological Park of the Davidson center at 10:00. Visit the archaeological garden around the ancient temple walls, including the Huldah Gates, Southern steps, Pinacle of the temple, Herodian excavations. Visit the (third) Temple Institute (11:30), and, in the afternoon, visit the Archaeological Tunnel along the Western Wall (6:40 p.m.). Overnight at the Gloria Hotel.
- Thursday, May 15. Free Day in Jerusalem. See the list of Things to Do in Jerusalem. Overnight at the Gloria Hotel.
- Friday, May 16. Morning visit to the Israel Museum and its newly renovated Archaeological Wing, Second Temple Period Model of Jerusalem, Shrine of the Book (Dead Sea Scrolls). Afternoon meeting and tour with Jeff Halper (Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions). Overnight at the Gloria Hotel.
- Saturday, May 17. North into West Bank. Begin the day in Taybeh for a Living Stones Conversation with Abuna (Father) Ra’ed, priest of the Latin Parish (9:30 a.m.). Travel north to Nablus to visit Jacob’s Well, the ancient site of Samaria (capital city of Israelite king Omri and others for 160 years), ancient Shechem (modern Nablus, Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal). Overnight at the Gloria Hotel in Jerusalem.
- Sunday, May 18. Begin the day at the Holocaust Memorial Yad VaShem, followed by a Continue on to visit Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salaam, an intentional community of Jews and Palestinians who live together. Along the way stop at Abu Ghosh (a possible site of Emmaus). Overnight at the Gloria Hotel.
- Monday, May 19. Departure from Tel Aviv