Herod the Great Tour
Day 1 – Day of Arrival
Upom arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, our guests will be greeted warmly and taken to the hotel. We will enjoy a welcome dinner and fascinating orientation with a Second Temple scholar. Overnight at a beautiful Mediterranean hotel along the coast
Day 2 – Caesarea Maritima – Haifa
Our day will begin with a comprehensive visit to Caesarea Maritima, the site built by King Herod in honor of his patron Emperor Augustus in the mid-first century BCE, and from where it is believed that Pontius Pilate ruled the country during the trial of Jesus. ( It was from this port also that Paul set sail to preach in communities all over the Mediterranean, where he was later imprisoned for two years and appeared before Felix, Festus and King Agrippa). After exploring its National Park and coastline, we will continue on to Caesarea’s Ralli Museum to get a glimpse of Latin American and Spanish art with historical perspective. We will continue on to a Druze villages to experience their hospitality and learn about their village life. In the afternoon we will proceed to Haifa, up to Mt. Carmel for a panoramic view of this major port city. Overnight in Haifa
Day 3 – Haifa – Samaria – Sebastya – Nablus
Today we will enter the Palestinian Territories through the Jalameh checkpoint to learn about life on the eastern border of Israel, in what is known as the West Bank. We will visit Sebastiya, one of the most interesting sites in all the Palestinian countryside, rebuilt and named by King Herod who dedicated his Herodian Temple to his patron Caesar Augustus. We will explore biblical Samaria by visiting Mt. Gerazim, home of the Samaritans, which also offers a magnificent view of Nablus and the surrounding areas. We will visit the modern city of Nablus, walk through the ancient markets of its Old City and visit Jacob’s Well. Nablus is known for the production of soap, olive oil and processing of cotton. Nablus is also known for its sweets, especially the Nabulsi Knafe, which we will have a chance to taste later in the afternoon. Overnight in Nablus
Day 4 – Nablus – Jericho – Masada – Dead Sea
After breakfast we will leave Nablus and proceed to the Jordan Valley to visit Jericho, one of the oldest and longest continually inhabited cities in the world. We will explore the land that was presented to Herod by Augustus Caesar in 30 BCE, where Herod built his three winter palaces called Tel Abu Alayiq. We will visit Tel Jericho, the site of the first victory of the Israelites in the Land of Canaan. We will then continue to the Dead Sea region to visit the Fortress of Masada UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will follow the leaborate water conservation cistern system of this mountaintop wonder and explore the ancient place where Herod made himself comfortable: its mosaic floors, murals, bath houses, and an elaborate three-tiered palace-villa with magnificent views of the Dead Sea. After descending by cable-car, we will head towards one of the beaches for a floating experience in the Dead Sea. Overnight in Jericho
Day 5 – Jerusalem- Mt. of Olives – Temple Mount – Old City
As we depart Jericho and ascend to Jerusalem, we will enjoy one of the most magnificent views in the world: ancient Jerusalem as seen from the top of the Mount of Olives. We will take the “Palm Sunday Walk” down the Mount of Olives, in the footsteps of Jesus stopping along the way at various churches commemorating the passion of Jesus Christ. As we enter the Old City via Dung Gate to access the Temple Mount we visit Haram El-Shareef, a vast esplanade on which Herod the Great built the last Temple. Today, only the Western Wall of that temple is still standing with characteristic Herodian style in its lower great stones. We will ocntinue our educational walk through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, with a visit to the Herodian mansions at the Wohl Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon, we will visit the Solomon’s Quarries and the Citadel which has been its bastion since the time of Herod the Great. Overnight in East Jerusalem.
Day 6 – Jerusalem – Herodion – Bethlehem – Hebron
We begin our day at Herodion, a strategic fortress southeast of Bethlehem which dominates the countryside and overlooks the Dead Sea. This fortress was built by Herod the Great and has just recently been proven to be his actual burial site. We will continue to Bethlehem, known to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ in Christian tradition, towards the end of Herod’s reign. The next stop on our itinerary is a visit to the Church of Nativity and a stroll through Manger Square. In the afternoon, we will drive to the city of Hebron in order to visit the Ma’arat HaMachpelah or, Cave of the Patriarchs, which houses the tombs of the prophet Abraham and his family in yet another elaborate building by Herod. Just north of the Old City is the spot known in biblical tradition as Mamre (the Oak of Abraham) where Herod erected an imposing enclosure to mark where Abraham and his family have lived. Our evening will include a special Bedouin culture experience. Overnight in East Jerusalem
Day 7–Jerusalem – Israel Museum
In the morning, we will visit the Israel Museum, home to the most important archaeological discovery of the 20th century – the Dead Sea Scrolls. An impressive model of Jerusalem in 2nd Temple Period sets the stage. We visit the special exhibit of Herod the Great which summarizes the pathways we have walked, the sites we have seen, and which gives the theme of our tour a visual and impactful closure. We will enjoy some free time in the afternoon and a special farewell dinner. Overnight in East Jerusalem
Day 8 – Departure
Transfer to the airport.
- Explore many of King Herod’s palaces including Caesarea, Sebastiya, Herodian and Masada
- Visit ancient Jericho the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and site of a Herodian palace
- Engage in “breaking bread” experiences with local bedouins, archaeological experts and others
- Delve deep into Herod’s Jerusalem and see the Western Wall, the remains of the magnificent temple, the Old city walls and Citadel and meander the ancient alleyways and the holiest site to the Jewish people (which features characteristic Herodian style in its lower great stones). In modern Jerusalem, visit the Israel Museum, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls–the most important archeological discovery of the 20th century.
- Relax in the soothing salty waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth
- Explore Hebron; home of the Cave of the Patriarchs, which houses the tombs of the Prophet Abraham and his family. Visit the Old City and see the Mamre (Oak of Abraham), where King Herod erected an imposing enclosure to mark where Abraham and his family lived.
- Learn about preservation and antiquities by an expert from the Israel Antiquities Authority