Israel Acheological Tour (11n/12d)

An ancient wooden boat discovered in 1986 and believed to be from the time of Jesus

An ancient wooden boat discovered in 1986 and believed to be from the time of Jesus

Day 1 
Arrival to Israel.   Meeting and assistance by Amiel representative. Transfer to Tel Aviv hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 2 
Rich Israeli breakfast at  your hotel. Begin your journey through time at the Apollonia National Park located on the Mediterranean coast, just a 15- minute drive north of Tel Aviv, situated between two other ancient ports, Jaffa and Caesarea.  The city of Apollonia and it’s fort were situated on the cliffs of the Sharon plain, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and was first established by the Phoenicians in the sixth century while people settled in this area about 2,500 years ago. In 1191 the Crusaders’ triumphant victory at this spot established their reign in the Holy Land for another 100 years. This battle was fought at the very place that today is the latest addition to Israel’s National Park System, and which was inhabited for 18 successive centuries.Tour the port city of Jaffa, one of the world’s oldest cities and its Flea Market, with its cornucopia of second-hand treasures and shabby-chic gems. Stroll through Neve Zedek, the first neighborhood in Tel Aviv, and a recently gentrified area with wonderful restored homes and small shops and restaurants. Enjoy a Walking Tour of The White City of Tel Aviv (UNESCO World Heritage Site), a city founded in 1909 and developed as a metropolitan city under the British in Palestine. The buildings, designed by European-trained architects, exhibit an architectural ensemble of the Modern Movement in a new cultural context. Leisure time to stroll and shop on Sheinkin Street, Israel’s version of Greenwich Village. Evening lecture with a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority. Dinner and overnight in Tel Aviv.

Day 3 
Dig-for-a-Day with Archaeological Seminars at the Beit Guvrin-Maresha Nature Park, in the region of Beit Guvrin, ancestral home of King Herod. Vast underground labyrinths of man-made rooms are being systematically cleaned and give evidence of underground industrial complexes dating from the Hellenistic period. Remains of olive-oil production, weaving installations, water cisterns and baths confirm a high level of material culture. This site offers a wealth of discoveries and practical experiences for those who want to “dig” but have limited time. (3 hours). Experiencing the “Real Israel”.  This unique adventure takes you “off the highway and into the homes of real Israelis” to see up close and personally the melting pot that we call Israeli society, and which is an in-gathering from the 4 corners of the Earth.  This social culinary experience will have groups visit beautiful homes and be hosted by women of Moroccan, Kurdish, Yemenite and Iraqi origin who cook traditional meals in traditional utensils, dressed in traditional garb and accompanied by traditional music.  Groups can be broken down into smaller sub-groups of anywhere from 4 to 12 people, allowing everybody to experience what interests them most (we will supply brochures in advance, telling the story of each woman and giving a background to the type of food she will prepare). The guests can either be hosted in the homes of the women, or can attend a type of food fair, where they will watch the preparation. As in the home visit option, everything is done in traditional garb with traditional music and utensils as the guests move from one “stand” to the next.  This experience can also include arts and crafts from the various traditional backgrounds, accompanied by explanations.   This is a very unique, colorful and delicious experience unlike anything else your groups would see in Israel. Return to Tel Aviv for dinner and overnight.

Day 4 
Drive north along the Mediterranean coast to Caesarea, the seat of the Roman Procurator of Judea 2,000 years ago. Explore the ruins of Roman, Byzantine and Crusader times and see the virtual model of ancient Caesarea and the Crusaders’ city.On to Mount Carmel to visit a Druze village  where you will hear about the connection between the Druze and the State if Israel for the last 60 years. Enjoy Druze home hospitality with families and join them for a delicious Druze lunch. After lunch, continue to visit the Megiddo National Park; The park  which encompasses the ancient biblical mound of Megiddo and whose universal value has won it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List, is located at the western entrance to the Jezreel Valley in the Lower Galilee, on an important ancient and modern crossroad.   Dinner and overnight in Haifa.

Day 5 
After a rich Israeli breakfast, journey to the Sea of Galilee and visit the Jesus Boat Museum; An ancient wooden boat discovered in 1986 and believed to be from the time of Jesus. Drive to visit Capernaum – the main center of Jesus’ teachings (Matt. 8:5) and whose remains of a 2nd century synagogue have shed a new light on this area.On to Mt. of Beatitudes to see the church with its octagonal dome representing the 8 “Beatitudes” of the sermon with which Jesus blessed his disciples.  Enjoy a wonderful view point on the northern part of Sea of Galilee and Valley of Ginosar. Visit the Tel Hazor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Tels (prehistoric settlement mounds), are characteristic of the flatter lands of the eastern Mediterranean, particularly Lebanon, Syria, Israel and eastern Turkey. Of more than 200 tels in Israel, Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheva are representative of those that contain substantial remains of cities with biblical connections. The three tels also present some of the best examples in the Levant of  elaborate Iron-Age, underground water-collecting systems, created to serve dense urban communities. These traces of construction over the millennia reflect the existence of centralized authority, prosperous agricultural activity, and the control of important trade routes.    Hatzor is one of 3 tels (Megiddo, Gezer and Hatzor) in which one can see a water system that (most probably) was built by King Achav (Kings1 16-22) in the 9th century BCE.    The water system consists of a wide shaft, 7m. deep, with a staircase inside the city, and a tunnel at a 45-degree angle which led down to the water source; its purpose was to guarantee the water supply of the city in times of siege.
Dinner and overnight in Haifa.

Day 6 
After breakfast, drive to the Haifa University for a lecture on Marine Archaeology, followed by a tour of the Maagan Michael ship, which is located in the Hecht Museum, and is a 2,400 year old merchantman discovered at Kibbutz Maagan Michael (3 hours).Proceed to Nazareth and visit the Church of Annunciation. Continue to visit the ancient remains at the Beit Shean National Park to look at “Archaeology and the impact on urban planning” (2 hours). Explore the Roman Theater and amphitheater, Paladius Street, Canaanite Tel, Philistine Temple, and new excavations in the area. Drive via the Jordan valley to Jerusalem for a dinner and overnight.

Day 7 
After breakfast, ascend the Mt. of Olives for a view of Jerusalem.  Overlooking the Old City, the mount is covered partly in olive trees, cemeteries and churches – commemorating the Christian events of Jesus. On to visit the Garden of Gethsemane where the ancient olive trees are believed to date back to the time of Christ. Visit the Church of All Nations.  Enter the Old City of Jerusalem via Stephen’s Gate and continue along the Stations of the Cross (the Via Dolorosa) to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Enjoy a walk through the colorful Arab bazaar (souk/shuk).  Enjoy a local lunch in the market. Walk through the Jewish Quarter and the ancient Roman marketplace, the Cardo, which today is home to many shops and wonderful art galleries. Visit the Burnt House and the Herodian Mansion; The Burnt House, also known as “Katros House” is a magnificent building, unearthed during the excavations of the Upper City. It was named The Burnt House due to its singular testimony to the destruction and burning of Jerusalem by the Romans in the first century.  The Herodian Mansions (The Wohl Archaeological Museum)  preserves in situ the extraordinary discoveries made during excavations carried out between 1969 and 1983 by N. Avigad in the Jewish Quarter, which revealed remains of magnificent buildings from the time of the Herodian dynasty period, which dated from 37 B.C.E. until 70 C.E.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.

Day 8 
Visit the Israel Museum for an extended guided tour of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Shrine of the Book and the scale model of Jerusalem from the Second Temple period and for a discussion with the Curator. (roughly 4 hours).
Continue on to visit the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum (roughly 2 hours).  Opened in 1938, the museum contains thousands of artifacts arranged in chronological order, ranging from prehistoric times to the Ottoman period, including a 9,000-year old statue from Jericho, gold jewelry from the Bronze Age, and much more. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem
Day 9
Begin your day with a visit to the City of David accompanied by an expert guide; visit Achi’el house, Hezekia’s Pool, Siloam Tunnel and the recent excavations at the Siloam Pool. (First Temple period). Deep underground, the City of David reveals some of the most exciting archeological finds of the ancient world, while above-ground, the city is a vibrant center of activity with a visitor’s center that welcomes visitors for an exciting tour of this ground-breaking site.
On to visit the Archaeological Park at the Davidson Centre with its audio visual presentation. Visitors to the Park follow events spanning some 5000 years, beginning with the Canaanite (Bronze) Age and continuing through the days of the Israelite monarchy in the First Temple period. The splendors of the Second Temple and the impressive architecture of King Herod, dating to the second half of the first century BCE are a key element in the Park, and the remains and monumental structures dating to the Christian and Muslim periods are clearly visible. .Visit the nearby Western Wall, most sacred place of the Jewish people. On to visit the Western Wall Tunnels; this project unearthed many archeological finds which can only be described as remarkable.  These finds reveal new and unknown details about the history and the geography of the Temple Mount site.
Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.

Day 10 
After breakfast,  Visit Yad Vashem, the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, which safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, it is the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the  Holocaust. Time to stroll, shop and enjoy Jerusalem’s outdoor souk (market), Machane Yehuda where participants can buy lunch on own. Tour the new city of Modiin with it’s deputy mayor or an archaeologist (2 hours). Artifacts were discovered during the building of the Modern City of Modiin and you will visit the archeological sites where city development has stopped due to these new findings.  Evening:   Private Viewing of the Bible Lands Museum collection.

Day 11 
Drive along the Dead Sea coast-line to visit Massada; a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Massada is the site of King Herod’s desert mountain get-away palace and scene of the zealots’ last stand against the Roman Legion. Explore the ancient excavation of Herod’s Palaces, the bathhouse, storerooms, the ramp, and one of the oldest synagogues in the world. Drive to one of the hotels along the Dead Sea shore to enjoy a swim & float in the Dead Sea. Enjoy lunch at the hotel.  The hotel spa facilities will be open for group members for this unique experience. A short visit to the recent excavations of the Synagogue in En Gedi. On to visit Qumran; the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls where discovered. Visit the visitors’ center, the Essene Farm, and the Qumran Caves (the actual finding place of the Dead Sea Scrolls). Farewell Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.

Day 12 
Departure for Ben Gurion International Airport.

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