A brief overview of the tour
Descend through the Judean desert to Jericho, oldest city in the world. Passing the¬†Inn of the Good Samaritan¬†and the "Sea level marker". ¬†At Jericho, see the ancient tel,¬†Mt. Temptation¬†and the sycamore¬†¬†Zachaeus¬†climbed. In¬†Bethlehem¬†visit the¬†Church of Nativity, the Catholic church of¬†St. Catherine, the Greek church¬†and¬†Shepherd's Fields.
Important and useful notes
- This tour is subject to Palestinian Autority regulations.
- In Jericho the guiding language is in¬†English only!
Change of vehicle required for transfers of pick up / drop off destinations to save time,¬†avoid¬†traffic and delay!
- Please be at your pick up point on time. There might be some delay (up to 20 minutes) due to traffic or other operational issues
- Due to visitor overload, a visit down to the Grotto of Nativity might not be possible because of tour time schedule.
- Modest dress: Covered shoulders/ No shorts required.
- Palestinian Guide meets tour only at border post.
- Change of vehicle may be required for entry to Palestinian Authority territory.
A detailed description of the tour
As we leave Jerusalem we begin our steep descent towards the Dead Sea passing the¬†Inn of the Good Samaritan¬†(Luke 10:29-37).
After a brief stop at the ‚ÄúSea level‚ÄĚ marker we continue our descent to¬†Jericho, the oldest city in the world, perhaps due to its luxuriant oasis and its proximity to the Dead Sea, an ancient source of salt. The crumbling Canaanite walls bring to mind the conquest of¬†Jericho¬†by the Israelite tribes, led by Joshua, who had just crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land.¬† (Josh 6).
Traveling from the Galilee on his way to Jerusalem Jesus passed through Jericho and it is here that¬†¬†Zachaeus, the short tax-collector, climbed the sycamore tree to better be able to see him. (Luke 19:1-10)
Towering above Jericho we will see¬†Mt. Temptation, where Jesus, who had fasted forty days and forty nights, when tempted by the devil responded ‚ÄúMan shall not live by bread alone.‚ÄĚ(Mat 4:1-4)
After leaving Jericho, we will return to Jerusalem and the Judean Mountains to visit¬†Bethlehem¬†(city of bread), hometown of Jesse, the father of¬†King David¬†(I Sam 16:1), and birthplace of Jesus (Mat. 2:1).
A short walk across Manger Square and we enter the well-preserved Byzantine¬†Church of Nativity. First built in the 4th¬†century, the original mosaic floor can be seen under the 6th¬†century reconstruction. In the Grotto of the Nativity one can see the star indicating the place of the birth, the Manger and the altar dedicated to the three Wise Men. Exiting the Church, we enter the Crusader Church dedicated to¬†St. Catherine¬†and descend to the grotto where St. Jerome translated to Hebrew bible into Latin, the Vulgate.