Biblical Jerusalem

bible–western-wall

School Religious Studies Trip to Jerusalem

Our tours to Jerusalem and Bethlehem offer the opportunity to visit the Holy Land and see some of the places your students will know from the Bible.  The Old City of Jerusalem is made up of four separate quarters each with its own distinctive character:  Jewish, Muslim, Armenian and of course Christian where we walk the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross. We visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, by tradition the site of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus and see the Garden Tomb. In the Jewish quarter we visit the Western Wall, known as the Wailing Wall and the last remaining wall of the ancient Jewish temple destroyed by the Romans.  Above this on the Temple Mount, we can see the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, some of the holiest sites in Islam.  We also visit Bethlehem where we see Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity.

Suggested Itinerary

The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.

Day 1

Flight to Tel Aviv. Afternoon tour to Bethlehem

Flight to Tel Aviv: Your flight arrives in the afternoon and you are met on arrival by your English-speaking guide and private coach which will be with you for the duration of the tour. You then transfer to your hotel.

Bethlehem: In the afternoon you visit Bethlehem where you can see Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest working churches in existence today. The first Church was built by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD, over the grotto where Mary gave birth to Jesus. During the 6th century the Byzantine emperor Justinian built a new church on the same spot. During the Crusades, the knights raised their flag above the Basilica and renovated it to the state we see today. Despite wars and conquests in Jerusalem, the church has survived through the centuries. Dinner this evening is at your hotel.

chiurch-all-national cupola-jerusalem

Day 2

Mount of Olives, Hezekiah's Tunnel and the Old City

Mount of Olives: Today is a full day in Jerusalem with lots to see and you begin by going to the Mount of Olives for a spectacular view across the Old City. You first visit the Chapel of Ascension, believed to mark the place where Jesus ascended into heaven. You also visit the Church of Pater Nostre and the Church of Dominus Flevit before going to the Garden of Gethsemane and Church of All Nations.

Hezekiah’s Tunnel: You then enter the City of David and walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, surely one of its most fascinating archaeological discoveries. The tunnel was created to bring water to the city but was also used to hide during the Roman occupation. The tunnel is over 500 metres in length and emerges besides the Temple Mount. You can then make your way to the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall), the Jews most holy place, which is all that remains of the original temple which was destroyed by the Romans.

Jerusalem Old City: Your day continues with an exploration of the Old City with its four distinct quarters – Muslim, Armenian, Jewish and Christian. You pass through St. Stephens Gate to reach the Crusader Church of St Anne. You see the Pool of Bethesda, Pilate’s Judgment Hall, the Ecce Homo Arch and follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. You leave the old city via the Damascus Gate and finally make your way to the Garden Tomb where Jesus rose from the dead.

Evening: There will be free time at the Mamilla Shopping Mall and in the evening, you return to your hotel for dinner.

candles jerusalem

Day 3

Qumran, Masada and the Dead Sea

Qumran: This morning you travel on a road which descends to the lowest place on earth – the Dead Sea – 427 metres below sea level. At Qumran you are able to visit the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 by local Bedouins. The scrolls were written in Greek, Arabic and Hebrew and were believed to have belonged to the Essenes Jewish sect who had lived here in a monastery-like community until about 688 BC.

Masada: You continue with a visit to the ancient hilltop fortress of Masada. You take the cable car to the last stronghold of the Jewish zealots who committed mass suicide in AD 73 rather than becoming slaves to the Romans. There are superb views across the Dead Sea and the fortress itself is fascinating to explore. You descend by foot, following the so-called Snake Path back to your coach.

Dead Sea: There will then be time to enjoy a dip in the mineral rich therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea where, of course, you cannot sink, before returning to your hotel for dinner.

masada

Day 4

Yad Vashem, Tower of David and the City Walls

Yad Vashem: This morning you visit Yad Vashem, the museum and memorial to the millions of Jews who died in Europe during the Holocaust. Set on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance on the edge of Jerusalem, the memorial opened in 2005 and displays photographs, documents, letters, drawings, and other personal items recovered from the ghettos and concentration camps. The museum leads into the Hall of Names, a vast vault containing over three million names of Holocaust victims that were submitted by their families and relatives. You can walk along the Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations which has over 2,000 trees which were planted in honour of non-Jews who endangered their lives in order to rescue Jews from the Nazis.

Tower of David: In the afternoon you head back into Jerusalem where you visit the Tower of David and the City Walls. Also known as David’s Citadel, the Tower of David is one of Jerusalem’s best-known heritage sites and houses archaeological finds dating back almost 3,000 years. Located by Jaffa Gate at the entrance to the Old City, the tower was originally built in the 2nd century BC and from the top of the ramparts offers stunning panoramic views across Jerusalem to the Temple Mount.

dome-of-the-rock

Day 5

The Temple Mount, Dead Sea Scrolls and Mea Shearim Orthodox Quarter

The Temple Mount: This morning you visit the Temple Mount, the third holiest site for Muslims behind Mecca and Medina. In Muslim tradition this is where the Prophet Mohammed made his Night Journey to the throne of God. In the 7th century when the Muslims conquered Jerusalem they built the Dome of the Rock as well as the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Although it is possible to see these iconic buildings from the outside, it is not possible for non-Muslims to go inside.

Dead Sea Scrolls: After lunch you visit the Israel Museum to see the Dead Sea Scrolls, housed in a section of the museum known as the Shrine of the Book.

Mea Shearim: This afternoon you visit the Jewish Orthodox quarter of Mea Shearim to see a little of the extremely strict religious observances practised here. Mea Shearim is one of the oldest Jewish neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and is populated by Haredi Jews who shun 21st century modernity in preference for age-old traditional ways of living.

Flight Home: In the evening you transfer to the airport for your homeward flight.

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