A brief overview of the tour

Start with an overview of Jerusalem from Mount Olives, looking down at the Old City and the Temple Mount. See the Garden of Gethsemane and the monumental burial tombs while driving along the Kidron Valley. Walk past the Armenian Quarter and along the 1500 year old Byzantine Cardo to the Jewish Quarter and on the Western Wall (Kotel). Follow the Stations of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Enjoy the bazaar in the Christian and Moslem Quarters. Leave Jerusalem for neighboring Bethlehem (City of Bread) hometown of King David and birthplace of Jesus. From Manger Square walk to the Church of Nativity and descend to the grotto, the place where Jesus was laid in the manger. Also visit the Catholic church of St. Catherine, the Greek church, the Milk Grotto where Mary fed Jesus and Shepherd's Fields.

Important and useful notes

  • This itinerary is only a proposal, we can customize this private tour according to your wish.

  • The private tour price is determined by distance, vehicle size, language and duration of the tour.

  • The base price¬†includes¬†10 hours,¬†Each additional hour - $40.

  • Entrance fees, parking, toll road fees not included.

  • On Saturday, ¬†an extra charge of $125 applies.
  • Passport compulsory.

  • This tour is subject to Palestinian authority regulations.

  • Visit Bethlehem is required change of vehicle and a local Palestinian guide and therefore

    available for an additional cost.  

  • Modest dress: Covered shoulders / No shorts.

  • Palestinian guide meets tour only at border post.

  • Change of vehicle is required for entry to Palestinian Authority territory.

A detailed description of the tour

Below you will find some of the many attractions in Jerusalem and Bethlehem from which you can create your own one day tour.

Please note that for the visit in Bethlehem you will be met by a local guide who will return you to your Israeli guide at the end of your tour. Also note that you will need your passport to cross from Israel to the Palestinian authority.

From Mount Olives, above the ancient Jewish cemetery we can see the Old City and the Temple Mount where the First Temple, built by King Solomon, and the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE once stood. Below is the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations and in the Kidron Valley also known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat, are the monumental ancient Jewish burial tombs including Yad Avshalom, Beni Hazir and perhaps Zechariah.

On Mount Zion are the Dormition Church where, some believe, Mary was assumed to heaven; the Coenaculum, traditional Room of the Last Supper, which is also perhaps where the disciples met after the ascension of Jesus to heaven and the Tomb of David, a large cenotaph covered with a drape on which are embroidered various attributes of King David including the lyre he played, a crown and the words ‚ÄúDavid, King of Israel lives forever‚ÄĚ in Hebrew.

Entering the Old City through the Zion gate we pass the Armenian Quarter and in its center the Church of St. James. We continue along the excavated Byzantine Cardo, the fifteen hundred year old main street of Jerusalem which was partially destroyed and unused during the Moslem conquest but had a brief new lease of life during the Crusader period. The excavated Crusader shops are now modern stores.

After visiting the Kotel, the Western Wall, which is part of a two thousand year old supporting wall built by King Herod when he enlarged the Temple Mount area was enlarged, we proceed to the Via Dolorosa and follow the Stations of the Cross ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the church built over the place of the crucifixion of Jesus and the burial tomb. Originally built in the Byzantine period, it was partially destroyed during the Persians and Moslem conquests and then rebuilt and slightly altered by the Crusaders.

Before continuing to Bethlehem we stroll through the market alleys.

Alternative sites in the Old City include the Church of St. Anne, the Lithostratos at the Convent of the Sisters of Zion, the Herodian House in the Jewish Quarter, the Church of Peter Gallicantu on Mount Zion, the Citadel Museum and the Tower of David.

After a short drive we cross over into Bethlehem (passports needed) where we will be met by a local guide. A short walk across Manger Square brings us to the well-preserved Byzantine Church of the Nativity. The original Byzantine mosaic floor is revealed through trapdoors in the later floor. Unlike most churches in the Holy Land the Church of Nativity was not destroyed by the Persian and Moslem conquerors but the entrance was lowered forcing us to crouch as we enter.

In the Grotto of the Nativity we can see the star indicating the place of the birth. Opposite are the Manger and the altar dedicated to the three Wise Men. Both the Church and Grotto are Orthodox.

As we exit we pass the small Armenian Chapel of the Kings (Magi) and enter the Crusader Church dedicated to St. Catherine. Here, in the grotto which adjoins the Grotto of the Nativity but is separated from it, is where St. Jerome translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Latin, the Vulgate.

Finally we stop at the tent shaped chapel in the Shepherd's Fields and enjoy the panels depicting scenes from the early life of Jesus.

As we depart, in the distance we see the Field of Ruth is where Ruth the Moabite, daughter-in-law of Naomi, great grandmother of King David, gleaned in the fields of Boaz.

 

Picture gallery

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