Ashdod (Jerusalem), Israel
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Approximately 8½ Hours
There is so much history in Israel, secular and religious, that familiar names will catch your attention all the way from Ashdod to Jerusalem. Begin your visit to Jerusalem with a panoramic drive through the capital, passing the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the Supreme Court and the Shrine of the Book. Continue to the Mount of Olives for a magnificent view over the Golden City. Then, drive to the Valley of Kidron and follow in the footsteps of Jesus as you walk through the Garden of Gethsemane. It was in this garden of olive trees that Jesus spent the last moments before his arrest. Early Christians were already holding gatherings here before the first church was built around AD 380. Visit the Church of All Nations and see some of the oldest olive trees in Jerusalem. Re-board your coach and head to a venue for a hearty lunch, followed by a drive to Bethlehem. In the city of Jesus’ birth, you’ll visit the Church of Nativity, built above the place where Christ is said to have been born. The actual cave of the Nativity is a small crypt with a vaulted masonry roof. Poor Bethlehem families used the rocky hollows of the region as stables or dwellings, so the tradition that places the Nativity in a cave is not at odds with the story of the manger. After vising the church, you will have a chance to shop for souvenirs at a local shop. Returning to Jerusalem, stop at the Sherover Promenade for another panoramic view of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount; then, return to your ship.
You must bring your passport for the visit to Bethlehem. You will not visit the Old City of Jerusalem or the Wailing Wall on this tour.