AIA Tours: land

Israel: Treasures of the Holy Land

Tour Dates: March 6-17, 2021 (13 Days)

Tour Leader(s): Jodi Magness ,

This tour has been cancelled for 2021 and is in the planning stages for 2022. If you are interested in traveling on this tour in the future and would like to be contacted when it becomes available, please call 800-748-6262 or email aia@studytours.org.

Click here for more information on the Israel Revisited tour, with archaeologist Jodi Magness, May 2021.

Discover the kaleidoscope of Israel’s archaeological riches in springtime. Highlights include iconic ancient and religious sites, including five that are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list: the spectacular, tragic fortress of King Herod at Masada; the Biblical Tel (settlement mound) of Megiddo; a view of Haifa’s Bahá’í Gardens from Mt. Carmel; the Jewish necropolis of Beit Shearim; and Bethlehem, with its 4th-century Church of the Nativity. Also spend six nights based in Jerusalem, exploring in-depth its archaeological sites, outstanding museums, and major Christian, Jewish, and Islamic holy places; and explore the impressive ancient trading port of Caesarea Maritima as well as Qumran, overlooking the Dead Sea, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden for nearly 2,000 years. Limited to a maximum of 16 participants.


Pricing Per Person

Double Occupancy 15-16 participants $8,995
Double Occupancy 10-14 participants $9,595
Single Supplement $2,565

With fewer than 10 participants, a small group surcharge may be added.  Single room supplement will be charged when requested or required (limited availability).


Tel Megiddo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Image © Mboesch.

Entering the Old City of Jerusalem via the Damascus Gate. Image © Biosketch.

A Roman aqueduct at Caesarea Maritima. Image © Ruby 1619.

St. Catherine’s Church, Bethlehem. Image © Zarion.

Masada, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Image © Godot13

Station IX of the Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem. Image © Berthold Werner/commons.wikimedia.org.

The Hellenistic period settlement, Qumran. © publicdomain

Itinerary


Saturday, March 6, 2021: Depart Home
Sunday, March 7: Arrive Tel Aviv, ISRAEL
Monday, March 8: Caesarea Maritima | Haifa | Welcome dinner
Tuesday, March 9: Megiddo | Beit Shearim | Haifa
Wednesday, March 10: Sepphoris | Magdala | Rosh Pina
Thursday, March 11: Tabgha | Capernaum | Lake Kinnereth | Hamat Tiberias National Park | Rosh Pina
Friday, March 12: Beit Shean | Beit Alpha | Jerusalem
Saturday, March 13: Masada | Dead Sea | Qumran | Jerusalem
Sunday, March 14:  Jerusalem: City of David and Southern Steps | Bethlehem | Jerusalem
Monday, March 15: Jerusalem walking tour: East Jerusalem to The Old City and along the Cardo
Tuesday, March 16: Jerusalem: Israel Museum, PM at leisure | Farewell dinner
Wednesday, March 17: Jerusalem | Tel Aviv | Fly home

 

View Detailed Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

Saturday, March 6, 2021: Depart Home
Today board your international flight for Israel.

Sunday, March 7: Arrive Tel Aviv, ISRAEL
Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport (TLV), located just outside of the dynamic, seaside city of Tel Aviv, where you will be met by a local representative, helped through customs, and transferred to our luxurious hotel. Overnight at the 5-star Carlton Hotel (deluxe sea view rooms). (D)

Monday, March 8: Caesarea Maritima | Haifa | Welcome dinner
After breakfast depart Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean coastal road to the major ancient trading port of Caesarea Maritima. Originally a Phoenician settlement, it was re-built in the 1st century B.C. by Herod the Great as a naval base, with an impressive artificial harbor. Visit the ruins of the theater, Herod’s palace, hippodrome, Crusader city, and aqueduct. Continue north along the coast to Haifa for a magnificent view of Galilee from Mt. Carmel, including a view of the Bahá’í Gardens, a religious site of the Bahá’í faith on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. Check-in to our luxurious hotel, freshen up, and gather for a welcome dinner. Overnight for two nights at the 5-star Dan Carmel Haifa (deluxe bay view rooms). (B,L,D)

Tuesday, March 9: Megiddo | Beit Shearim | Haifa
Begin the day with a visit to Megiddo, a Biblical tel (settlement mound) inscribed on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. Excavations at Megiddo, which was in a very strategic location, have revealed evidence of up to 27 layers of habitation from between 4000 B.C. and 450 B.C. Continue on to Beit Shearim, an ancient city and Jewish necropolis that also served as the seat of the Sanhedrin (official Jewish council under the Romans) in the 2nd century A.D., where there are the ruins of a 2nd-century A.D. synagogue and 31 catacombs, whose sarcophagi bear inscriptions in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Return to our hotel in Haifa in time for dinner. (B,D)

Wednesday, March 10: Sepphoris | Magdala | Rosh Pina
Continue our tour of Galilee with a visit to Sepphoris (Zippori), the capital of Galilee in the 1st century A.D., with restored buildings and beautiful mosaics including the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee.” Cross Galilee to Lake Kinnereth (the Sea of Galilee) and visit the site of Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene, where a 1st-century town has been discovered, including the only known 1st-century synagogue on the Sea of Galilee. Continue on to our hotel in Rosh Pina, just north of Lake Kinnereth, where we check-in to our hotel and have dinner. Overnight for two nights at the 5-star Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel. (B,D)

Thursday, March 11: Tabgha | Capernaum | Lake Kinnereth | Hamat Tiberias National Park | Rosh Pina
This morning we visit Tabgha (“The Seven Springs”), where a church commemorates the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, believed to have taken place on this spot. Continue on to nearby Capernaum, the center of Jesus’s ministry in Galilee. We will see a monumental ancient synagogue in the village and a nearby church built over the site venerated as the house of St. Peter. Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Kinnereth (the Sea of Galilee), followed by lunch. This afternoon, visit Hamat Tiberias National Park, overlooking the city of Tiberias, where the remains of a 4th-century A.D. synagogue include a beautiful zodiac mosaic. Return to our hotel in Rosh Pina and gather for dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Friday, March 12: Beit Shean | Beit Alpha | Jerusalem
Begin the day with a visit to Beit Shean (Roman Scythopolis), one of the cities of the Roman Decapolis (a league of Greek cities formed after the Roman conquest in the 1st century B.C.). Extensive excavations at the site have revealed a highly developed Roman city that was destroyed by an earthquake. Continue to Beit Alpha, the site of an ancient synagogue with a beautiful and unusual mosaic floor. Drive south, following the Jordan River, and begin the ascent to Jerusalem. End the day with a magnificent panoramic view of Jerusalem, a city sacred to the three Abrahamic faiths. Check-in to our luxurious hotel, where we have dinner this evening. Overnight for five nights at the 5-star Waldorf Astoria Hotel. (B,L,D)

Saturday, March 13: Masada | Dead Sea | Qumran | Jerusalem
Today we depart Jerusalem and drive to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Masada. Built by Herod as a fortified palace, Masada later was the site of a famous “last stand” by almost 1,000 Jews, following the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. At a resort in Ein Boqeq, south of Masada, we will have lunch and you may take a dip, if you wish, in the Dead Sea—the lowest point on Earth. End our afternoon at Qumran, where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden for nearly 2,000 years, and then return to Jerusalem. Dinner is on your own this evening. (B,L)

Sunday, March 14:  Jerusalem: City of David and Southern Steps | Bethlehem | Jerusalem
Spend the morning exploring the origins of Jerusalem in the “City of David” area – the original Jebusite city chosen by King David as the capital of Israel. The City of David is today an archaeological park that includes the ruins of large houses and a defensive tower. Also view the “Southern Steps,” at the base of the steps leading up to the Temple Mount, and the Hulda Gate. After lunch we drive to Bethlehem, with its Church (Basilica) of the Nativity—the world’s oldest continuously operating church, established in A.D. 326, and today a UNESCO World Heritage site—and St. Catherine’s Church next door. Return to Jerusalem, where dinner is on your own this evening. (B,L)

Monday, March 15: Jerusalem walking tour: East Jerusalem to The Old City and along the Cardo
Begin today with a morning visit to the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, housed in a historic building in East Jerusalem, north of the Old City. From there we will set out on a walking tour, following Jerusalem’s “Third Wall” from the grounds of the Albright Institute south to the Damascus Gate, where we enter the Old City. Walk along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Sisters of Zion and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, venerated by many Christians as the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial. After lunch, walk along the Cardo, the main street of Roman Jerusalem. Visit the excavated homes of the wealthy priestly families of the Temple. Dinner is on your own this evening. (B,L)

Tuesday, March 16: Jerusalem: Israel Museum, PM at leisure | Farewell dinner
Today visit the Israel Museum (including the Shrine of the Book, which houses some of the Dead Sea Scrolls) with its large scale model of Jerusalem, depicting the city at the time of the Second Temple. After lunch we return to our hotel for some time at leisure to relax, do some last-minute shopping, or pack. Gather for a farewell dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, March 17: Jerusalem | Tel Aviv | Fly home
Transfer to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) for your homeward flights. (B)

 


For reservations or questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

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