Our journey begins at the Mount of Olives overlooking the ancient Jewish cemetery. this elevated location we can see across the Old City and down to the Temple Mount where the holy Jewish Temple once stood.
We continue on towards the Zion Gate by driving through the Kidron Valley where we see the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of All Nations and the Jewish burial tombs of Absalom, King Davids son, Jehoshaphat and the Hezir family (benei Hazir). At the Zion Gate we enter Jerusalems Old City and make our way through the Armenian Quarter. Then we follow the 1500 year old excavated zantine Cardo which has been restored and is now home to modern shops which line a section of the ancient road.
We carry on through the Jewish Quarter and on to the Western Wall which was part of the outer walls of the holy Jewish Temple that stood on Temple Mount almost 2,000 years ago.
We then walk where Jesus once walked the Way of Sorrows along the Via Dolorosa, as thousands of pilgrims do each year. We stop at several of the Stations of the Cross where Jesus stopped briefly as he carried his cross to Golgotha (Calvary). The final station on this Way of Sorrows is at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Christ was crucified and where his burial tomb is located. The Basilica was constructed during the zantine Era and underwent renovations and reconstruction over the years.
Before we leave the Old City we meander through the typically Middle Eastern markets and then set off for Bethlehem, the city of Christs birth.
We arrive in the City of Bread, Bethlehem, which was home to Jesse, King Davids father as well as being Christs birthplace. Manger Square we enter the 4th century Church of the Nativity which is the oldest church in Israel still in use. Beneath the church is the Grotto of the Nativity where a star indicates the place where Jesus was born. Also in the Orthodox Church are the Manger and an alter dedicated to the Three Wise Men. This is the place where the well known story of Christmas night took place and a visit here is a moving experience for all Christians.
On the way out of the church we see the Armenian Chapel of the Kings or Magi and we visit the Crusader Church. the Church of St. Catherine we go down into a two room cave which joins the Grotto of the Nativity. It was here that Saint Jerome spent 30 years translating the Hebrew Bible into the Latin version called The Vulgate.
At the Franciscan Church we see the Milk Grotto where Mary fed baby Jesus and a drop of milk fell onto the stone turning the grotto white. On our way back towards Jerusalem we pass the Field of Ruth.
Dress code: Shoulders to be covered / No shorts allowed.
Bethlehem is under Palestinian Authority Rule. In order to enter you need a valid passport.