Steeped in centuries of history and drenched in the Mediterranean sun, Israel presents visitors with a thrilling new world of discovery. From its picturesque western coastline to its legendary cities and settlements, no two trips to Israel – or anywhere in the Middle East, for that matter – are ever the same – and, as a holiday destination, this ancient country offers vast possibilities.
Beyond Israel’s holiday hot-spots lie echoes of an ancient past – and not least amongst these, is the city of Jerusalem. Nestled within the Jordan Mountain range, between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, Jerusalem is crowded with landmarks and attractions, including the Mount of Olives, which overlooks the northern section of Jerusalem and offers spectacular, panoramic views of the city. Explorations of Jerusalem reveal the sacred Western Wall, the Crusader Church and the miraculous Pools of Bethesda, where Christ was believed to have healed the sick. Religious significance is visible in almost every street – from the fascinating Jewish quarter, to the Via Dolorosa, the route Christ took to his crucifixion. Jerusalem is also the location of The Shrine of the Book, which houses several sensational archaeological finds, including the Dead Sea Scrolls: the oldest versions of the Old Testament known to man.
Beyond Jerusalem, tours range east across Israel’s Judean Hills to the Dead Sea – named for its high salt content in which no life can survive. The Qumran Caves, on the north-eastern shore, are the sea’s most famous locale – the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered there in 1947 and today the caves remain one of the world’s most fascinating archaeological sites. Tours of the Dead Sea eventually reach Masada, an ancient fortress on a dramatic plateau overlooking the water. The 1st century BC fortress was built by King Herod the Great and was the site of a Roman siege lasting from 72 to 74 AD. No trip to the Dead Sea would be complete without a splash in its salty waters – known both for their healing properties and their exceptional buoyancy!
Heading north from the Dead Sea, tours travel through a spectrum of traditional Israeli life, including the city of Nazareth, childhood home of Jesus, and several ‘kibbutz’ – collected farmsteads involved in a variety of agricultural pursuits. Trips north eventually reach another vast inland body of water: the Sea of Galilee. Evoking thousands of years of biblical tradition, the Galilee region is a hotbed of archaeological discovery, not least Capernaum, a fishing port on the north shore which is the location of ruins thought to be the home of the Apostle, St. Peter. The Sea of Galilee holds great significance to Christians: Jesus is believed to have walked on its waters and performed the Multiplication of the Loaves at Tagbha, on the north-western shore.
Tours of Israel are a chance to connect with cultures reaching back thousands of years. If you are planning your own trip to this ancient land, look no further than Titan – and an adventure promising to stay with you long after you leave.
More information about our tour, Israel – Discover the Promised Land, can be found on our website.