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Passion Play 2020

tour program
 

Day 1 - OR Tambo to Ben Gurion    

Leave for Tel Aviv via Cairo. Israel's Ben Gurion Airport or "Natbag" as the locals refer to it, is named after Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.  Once all the formalities at the airport have been finalised, you will be transferred to your Hotel.  Time to rest a little, as it will be close to midnight.  

Day 2 - Tel Aviv 

After breakfast, you have the day free to explore Tel Aviv to your heart's content.  Remember to get enough rest, tomorrow is going to be a long day!

Day 3:  Jaffa, Caesarea Maritima, Mount Carmel, Megiddo en Sea of Galilee

Enjoy a healthy, hearty breakfast - today is going to be a busy one!  First on the list is Old Town Jaffa, also known as Joppa / Joppe.  The harbour in Jaffa is where Jonah fled to when he wanted to get away from God, instead of going to Tarsis.  The harbour was also the main point of entrance during the time of King Solomon.  The wood for the temple entered through this port.

Caesarea Maritima - an Israeli Nationa Park that harbours the remains of the historical Caesarea.  According to history, this is also the place where Paul baptised the first Christian.  Be sure to include the theatre and the horse racing arena - they are close by and a must to see.

Next on the agenda is the Bahai Gardens - also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa - on the famous Mount Carmel.  Mount Carmel - The place where the Prophet Elijah's fire-lighting challenge - one of the Old Testament's most spectacular contests between Yahweh, the God of the Israelites and the Baal prophets - took place.  Two sacrifices were made - one by the Prophet Elijah and the other by the Baal Prophets.  The rule was that no man may set the sacrifices alight.  The Baal Prophets tried everything in their power, but without any success.  Elijah teased them because he knew he worshipped the only real God.  God set Elijah's sacrifice alight and Elijah killed the Baal prophets. 

From there we visit Akko/ Acre and the beautiful   Rosh Hanikra grottos.  The cable car to the grottos claims to be the steepest in the world!  The view from the cable car is spectacular, and that is just the start!  The white chalk cliff faces open up into spectacular grottos - a magical world of spectacular nature in all its splendour.

Meggido - also known as "Armageddon".  Because of its strategic location, Megiddo has already been the site of several historical wars.  According to the Book of Revalations Armageddon will be the site of the last battle between Jesus Christ and the kings of the earth who go to war against Israel.  Megiddo is situated 35km South-East of Haifa.

Tonight you will overnight at the Sea of Galilee - a beautiful, historical building.

 

Day 4: Sea of Galilee, Bahai Gardens, Hula Valley

Enjoy a breathtaking spiritual Galilee journey - sailing on a wooden boat - an exact replica of the famous boats that played a key role in Jesus's life in the Galilee.  Feel the power of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus miraculously walked on the water.  

From there, explore Tabgha, situated on the North-Western shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Tabgha is traditionally accepted as the place of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes and the fourth resurrection appearance of Jesus after his crucifixion.  Visit the Church of Multiplication - the church is modern, but stands on the site of 4th and 5th-century churches.  It preserves a splendid early Christian mosaic as well as the traditional stone on which the miraculous meal was laid. From there, visit the modern Catholic church Domus Galilaeae, with the beautiful sculpture of Jesus and the 12 disciples.

Next on the program is the Banias Nature Reserve, which contains an abundance of natural and historical beauty, from the ruins of ancient cities to the roaring Banias Waterfall - the biggest waterfall in Israel.  

The Hula Valley is a must for all farmers on the tour.  The Hula Valley is an agricultural region in Northern Isreal with abundant fresh water.  It is a major stopover for birds migrating along the Syrian-African Rift Valley between Africa, Europe and Asia.

 

Day 5: Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Beit She'an, Qumran National Park and the Dead Sea

 Start the day with a visit to the place believed to be the setting for Jesus's most famous discourse, the Sermon on the Mount.  Mount of Beatitudes is one of the most beautiful serene places in the Holy Land.  Overlooking the Northern Shore on the Sea of Galilee, it offers an enchanting vista of the northern part of the lake and across to the cliffs of the Golan Heights on the other side.  

Capernaum is a small fishing town on the northern side of the Sea of Galilee - the place where Jesus spent most of his time.  Today, the ruins are owned by two churches.  There is a lovely old synagogue with large, ornately carved, white building stones that stands out prominently among the smaller, plain blocks of black basalt.  From there you visit Beit She'an, a historic biblical city, situated between the Jordan and the Jezreel valleys. 

Qumran National Park - set in the stark desert mountains just South of the Dead Sea.  Qumran's historical significance is dominated by the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Beginning with the miraculous discovery made by a Bedouin boy in 1946, numerous scrolls were discovered, which were later revealed the oldest biblical Hebrew scriptures ever found.  Tonight you overnight at the Dead Sea.

Day 6: Ramon Airbase, Carmey Ardat Winefarm and the Ramon Crater

Time for something completely different - but something that needs to be included in the tour.  First on the list is a visit to the formidable Ramon Airbase, South-West of Beersheba.  This promise to be an unforgettable experience. 

The Ramon Krater is situated in Israel's Negev Desert and is the world's biggest erosion crater, believed to have formed more than 220 million years ago when oceans still covered the area.  The crater is 40km long, between 2 and 10km wide and heart-shaped.   

After a long day in the desert, it is time to relax with a visit to a wine farm.  Yes - a wine farm in the middle of the desert!  Carmey Avdat is really an oasis - a must see.

Day 7: King Herod's Bathhouse, Ein Gedi, Jerusalem and Mount Scopus.

One of the highlights of any tour to Masada is a visit to King Herod's Bathhouse.  As you enter the outer courtyard of the bathhouse, you can see a model of what it would have looked like.  The bathhouses were not only for washing but also for relaxing, enjoying spa-type treatments and socialising. The bathhouse consists of four rooms - an Apodyterium or dressing room, a Caldarium or sauna (the warm baths), a Tepidarium or middle room and the Frigidarium or cold bathroom.

Ein Gedi is an oasis and nature reserve west of the Dead Sea and close to Masada and the Qumran Reserve.  Ein Gedi served as one of the main places of refuge for King David when he fled from Saul.

Jerusalem - the holy city.  Visit the Israel museum - one of the world's leading arts and archaeology museums.  Among the highlights of the Museum's original campus is the Shrine of the Book, designed by Armand Bartos and Frederick Kiesler, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscript in the world, as well as rare, early medieval biblical manuscripts.  Adjacent to the Shrine is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period, which reconstruct the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE, and provides historical context to Shrine's presentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  

Mount Scopus offers beautiful views of Jerusalem.  Overlooking Jerusalem, Mount Scopus has been strategically important as a base from which to attack the city since antiquity. For the next few evenings, you will overnight in Jerusalem.

Day 8: Mount of Olives, Dominus Flevit, Gethsemane, West-wall, Temple Mount, Church of St Anne, Bath of Bethesda 

Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge east of and adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City.  Several key events in the life of Jesus, as related in the Gospels, took place on the Mount of Olives, and in the Acts of the Apostles, it is described as the place from which Jesus descended to heaven.  The Kidron valley divides Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. Pick an olive leave as a memorial.  Dominus Flevit, the little teardrop church halfway down the Western slope of the Mount of Olives, recalls the Gospel incident in which Jesus wept over the future fate of Jerusalem.    

Gethsemane - the place where Jesus prayed and t disciples slept the night before his crucifixion.  The Western Wall or Wailing Wall of Kotel is an antique wall in old Jerusalem.  The Western Wall is considered holy due to its connection to the Temple Mount.  Because of the Temple Mount entry restrictions, the Wall is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray, though the holiest site in Jewish faith lies behind it.

The Temple Mount is seen as the holiest site for Jewish believers.  Parts of the four walls surrounding the Temple Mount dates back to the time of the Second Jewish Temple, first century BCE. The walls were built around the summit of  Mount Moriah, where biblically, Abraham offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice.

The Church of  St Anne is the best preserved Crusader church in Jerusalem.  It marks the traditional site of the home of Jesus's maternal grandparents, Anne and Joachim, and the birthplace of the Virgin Mary.

Day 9: Mount Zion, Cenacle King David's Tomb, Ein Karem, Church of Visitation

Start the day with a visit to Mount Zion on the South-East side of Jerusalem.  King David's Tomb is a site believed by some to be the burial place of David, King of Isreal.  The Cenacle is a room in King David's Tomb compound in Jerusalem, traditionally held to be the site of the Last Supper.

Ein Korem is an ancient village of the Jerusalem District and believed to be the birthplace of John the Baptist.  The Church of Visitation honours the visit paid by the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.

Day 10: Free

Today is yours to do as you please.  Visit Petra or explore Jerusalem on your own.

Day 11: Via Dolorosa, Hall of Pilate, Garden Tomb, Tel Aviv

Walk the Via Dolorosa - the Way of Suffering.  The best time to walk the path is early in the morning before the crowds converge on the Old City.  Along the way, make sure to stop at the Hall of Pilate where Christ was condemned.  End the walk with a visit to the Garden Tomb, where you will end your tour by having Holy Communion served to you.  

You've come to the end of the tour of Israel - tonight you will overnight in Tel Aviv before leaving for Germany.

Day 12: Tel Aviv to Munich

Leave for Munich, Germany.   Upon arrival you will be transported to Marnau am Staffelsee, where you will overnight the next few evenings.

Day 13: Passion Play 2020

The highlight of the tour - something that happens only once every 10 years, the 2020 Passion Play!  

Day 14: OR Tambo

You came to the end of a lovely tour - hope to see you again soon!

Visit all the places you have read about in the Bible, with the 2020 Passion Play as the highlight of the tour.

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