• Discover the Holy Land during the captivating Jewish festival of Hanukkah
• Delve into layers of history at Bethlehem, Caesarea, and the archaeologically astonishing fortress of Masada – built by Herod the Great
• Explore the landscape of the New Testament in Galilee, rich in ancient and Byzantine remains
Depart Heathrow 0805, arriving Tel Aviv 1450. Transfer to Mount Zion Hotel, Jerusalem for four nights.
Morning talk: Jerusalem. Visits in the Old City: Mount of Olives, Dominus Flevit Church (built by Franciscans in 1954), Church of All Nations, Garden of Gethsemane and Lion’s Gate. Afternoon: walking tour of Via Dolorosa including St Anne’s Church (beautiful 12th century Crusader church) and Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Evening talk on the origins of the Hanukkah festival followed by ‘Shabbat of a Lifetime’ dinner.
Morning visits in Bethlehem: Manger Square, Church of the Nativity, Shepherds’ Fields. Afternoon: Israel Museum (including Shrine of the Book, home of Dead Sea Scrolls). Evening talk: The Romans in Palestine.
Further visits in the Old City: Jaffa Gate (16th century Ottoman gate), Tower of David, Jewish Quarter (including Cardo and Herodian Quarter) and Temple Mount (time permitting). Afternoon: Yad Vashem Museum (memorial to the Holocaust). Evening talk: The Dead Sea Scrolls.
Dead Sea: Masada (Herod the Great’s rock fortress) and Qumran (site of discovery of Dead Sea Scrolls), then to Tiberias (capital of Galilee) for three nights at Scots Hotel. Evening talk: The Quest for the Historical Jesus.
Morning: Tel Megiddo (site of battle of Armageddon). Afternoon: Beit Alfa and Beit She’an (important Decapolis City) followed by Hamat Tiberias (3rd–5th century synagogue, beautiful mosaics). Evening talk: Bronze and Iron Age in Israel.
Visits around Sea of Galilee: St Peter’s Primacy (Franciscan chapel on shores of Galilee), Capernaum (Jesus’s ‘own town’), Church of Beatitudes (built on traditional site of Sermon on the Mount) and Tabgha (traditional site of the feeding of the five thousand and post-resurrection appearance of Jesus in Christianity), the so-called Jesus Boat at Ginosar. Some free time in Tiberias.
Caesarea (hippodrome, amphitheatre, port, fascinating Crusader fortifications). Continue to Tel Aviv for 1645 departure, arriving Heathrow 2005.