The tour starts with a view across the Old City walls to Temple Mount. Then visit the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed before his arrest on the eve of his crucifixion. Enter the Old City via the Lion’s Gate and stop at Saint Anne’s Church. Behind the church are the remains of the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus miraculously healed a crippled man. It may be possible to take in the view of Temple Mount from the Al Omeria School rooftop. The school was built on the remains of Herod’s Antonia Fortress at the start of the Via Dolorosa. Go beneath the Sisters of Zion Monastery to see the Struthion Pool built by Herod in the 1st century and covered by Hadrian in 130AD to form a cistern. Above the cistern, Hadrian built a triple-archway leading into a flagstone-paved forum. See where Roman soldiers etched a game into the flagstones (Gabbatha or Lithostrotos) and where Jesus was put before Pontius Pilate for judgment. A surviving section of the archway is known as Ecce Homo after Pilate’s “Behold the man” speech (John 19-15). Next, follow the Via Dolorosa, pausing at the 7th Station of the Cross. According to the Orthodox Catholic tradition, this was where the Gate of Justice once stood. Continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for an in-depth tour of the sacred sites within the church. Visit the Western Wall, the only surviving part of the Biblical Jewish Temple that once stood on Temple Mount. See the Cardo, an excavated Roman street that ran through the city. The tour continues to Mount Zion, the site of King David’s Tomb and the Room of the Last Supper. The last stop is at the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion, built on the site where Mary fell into an eternal sleep.
Sites During the Tour:
-Garden of Gethsemane
-St. Anne’s Church and Bethesda Pool
-Sisters of Zion Monastery
-Ecce Homo Arch
-Church of the Holy Sepulcher
-The Cenacle (Room of the Last Supper)
-King David’s Tomb
Additional Options in the Area:
1. Temple Mount (visiting hours vary)
2. Davidson Center and the Southern Wall excavation, including the Temple stairs from Jesus’ lifetime.
3. Western Wall excavations
4. Ophel Promenade, view of the Tomb of Absalom and Biblical-era burial caves
5. Old City Jewish Quarter
6. Jaffa Gate and the Tower of David Museum
7. Walk along the Old City wall ramparts
8. Old City market tasting tour
9. The churches of the Mount of Olives, including the Ascension Chapel, Pater Noster, Russian Orthodox Church of Maria Magdalena, Dominus Flevit, and Mary’s Tomb.