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Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour

Holy Land Revealed

The Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour you will get to know the key sites in Jerusalem and in Bethlehem and much more! Hopefully in this tour you will deepen your knowledge about the birth and life of Jesus. Including famous mircales and events.



Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour: The Church of Nativity

So the Gospels of Matthew and Luke identify Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. Then Bethlehem was destroyed by Emperor Hadrian during the second-century Bar Kokhba revolt; its rebuilding was promoted by Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, who commissioned the building of its great Church of the Nativity in 327 CE. The church was badly damaged by the Samaritans, who sacked it during a revolt in 529. But was rebuilt a century later by Emperor Justinian I.



In addition, the New Testament, the Gospel of Luke says that Jesus’ parents traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. The Gospel of Matthew mentions Bethlehem as the place of birth and adds that King Herod was told that a ‘King of the Jews’ had been born in the town. As a result, prompting Herod to order the killing of all the boys who were two years old or under in the town and surrounding area. So Joseph was warned of Herod’s impending action by an angel of the Lord; decided to flee to Egypt with his family and then later settled in Nazareth after Herod’s death.

Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour: Different Traditions About Jesus Birth

On our Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour, we will examine and talk about the different traditions about Jesus’ Birthplace. Early Christian traditions describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem: in one account, a verse in the Book of Micah is interpreted as a prophecy that the Messiah would be born there. The second-century Christian apologist Justin Martyr stated in his Dialogue with Trypho (written c. 155–161) that the Holy Family had taken refuge in a cave outside of the town and then placed Jesus in a manger.



Origen of Alexandria, writing around the year 247, referred to a cave in the town of Bethlehem which local people believed was the birthplace of Jesus. This cave was possibly one that had previously been a site of the cult of Tammuz. The Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John does not include a nativity narrative but refer to him only as being from Nazareth. The grotto it contains holds a prominent religious significance to Christians of various denominations as the birthplace of Jesus. The grotto is the oldest site continuously used as a place of worship in Christianity, and the basilica is the oldest major church in the Holy Land.

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The Church of the Nativity, while remaining basically unchanged since the Justinianic reconstruction, has seen numerous repairs and additions, especially from the Crusader period, such as two bell towers (now gone), wall mosaics, and paintings (partially preserved). The silver star marking the spot where Christ was born, inscribed in Latin, was stolen in October 1847 by Greek Orthodox monks who wished to remove this Roman Catholic item. Some assert that this was a contributing factor in the Crimean War against the Russian Empire.



Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour: Chapel of the Shepherd’s Field

Near Bethlehem, we’ll visit Shepherds’ Field Chapel which is a Roman Catholic. The chapel marks the place where, according to Catholic tradition, angels first announced the birth of Christ. In fact, the location is traditionally held to be not only the site of the Annunciation to the shepherds. But also the place mentioned in Ruth 2:2, where Ruth gleaned grain for herself and Naomi. Prior to the construction of the present chapel in 1953, Franciscan archaeologist Virgilio Canio Corbo excavated the site and found evidence of a large monastic establishment, whose church dates to the 5th century.



Jerusalem and Bethlehem Tour: Church of the Seat of Mary

On our way to the Holy City of Jerusalem, we shall visit the Church of the Seat of Mary. The church was a 5th-century Byzantine church in the Holy Land, located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was built on the alleged resting place of Mary on the road to Bethlehem mentioned in the Proto-Gospel of James. The church was built when Marian devotion first rose to great importance, following the First Council of Ephesus of 431. It is one of the earliest churches known to have been dedicated to the Theotokos (Mary the God-bearer) in the entire Byzantine Empire.

Old Town Jerusalem

Surrounded by ancient walls, the Old City is home to holy sites such as the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock Islamic shrine, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which dates to the 4th century. Shops and markets selling prayer shawls, rosaries, and ceramics fill busy alleys, while food stalls serve falafel, pita, and fresh-squeezed juice. In a medieval citadel, the Tower of David Museum chronicles the city’s history.

We would explore the four different quarters of the old city: The newly restored Jewish Quarter, the magestic Christian Quarter and the bustling Muslim Quarter. If time permits we would also tour the Armenain Quarter. Each one is a microcosmos and has its own vibe. When we’ll be passing from one to the other you will feel the difference.

The history of the Old City has been documented in significant detail, notably in old maps of Jerusalem over the last 1,500 years. This area constituted the entire city of Jerusalem until the late 19th century; neighboring villages and new Jewish neighborhoods such as Yemin Moshe later became part of the municipal boundaries.



Mt. Olive Viewpoint

Mount Olive viewpoint is really the best spot to start our tour of Jerusalem. After learning about the city from a birds-eye view we will enter the city via Jaffa Gate. Then we shall work our way through thousands of years of history. It doesn’t matter where you will look there is something to talk about! We’ll have the time to talk about the long history of Jerusalem that spans a couple of millenniums. Who hasn’t been here the Crusaders, the Babylions, the Ottomans, and many more! Each every one left a mark on the city till this day.

Don’t think for a second I forgot about lunch. Our delicious meal shall be served in one of the best places to go to if you’re looking for a bite to eat. In other words, the Mahane Yehuda Food Market. There you can find lots of delicious options. But one of my personal favorite local restaurants in Jerusalem is Arais Mahane Yehuda.



Modern Jerusalem

So we won’t be able to end our Jerusalem and Bethlehem tour without covering Modern Jerusalem right? We won’t have much time so we will need to choose from various museums Jerusalem offers to its visitors. For example one of the best museums in Jerusalem these days for Archaeology is the Israel Museum. Also, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem (better known by locals as Yad Vashem) is one of the best museums if you want to learn more about the Holocaust. I actually offer a personalized Tour of the Holocaust Museum (Yad Vashem) so if you are interested you should contact me on that matter.

Next to the Holocaust Museum, there is Mt. Herzl now serving as Israel’s National Cemetary. It is named after Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. There you have a nice little museum about Herzl’s life and his major role in the Foundation of the State of Israel.



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arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

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