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Home > Articles > Middle East > Israel > Excursions from Jerusalem - Historic Areas and Towns

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Excursions from Jerusalem - Historic Areas and Towns
The following areas can be booked from Jerusalem as tours at your hotel or you can book a private guide. Tours are recommended because of the general "unrest" in Israel.

Bethlehem: (Bus 22 from Damascus Gate). Located 7 miles from Jerusalem. See the Church of the Nativity, which is built on the site of Jesus' birth. There are stairs leading to a cave, which marks the exact spot. Rachel's Tomb is located on the other side of Bethlehem and is the 3rd holiest site in Judaism. Bethlehem is now an Arab town.

Hebron: (Bus 62 from Central Station). 24 miles south of Bethlehem. This is one of the 4 Holy cities of ancient Israel and its citizens are proud and highly regarded for their artistry in ceramics and glassware. The Tomb of the Patriarchs, is the burial site of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, and some say, the tombs of Adam and Eve. The Tombs are the 2nd most Sacred site to Jews. It is not considered safe to wander alone in the Arab section of this town.

Jericho: (Bus from Central Station). 24 miles northeast of Jerusalem and to the east of Hebron, Jerico is an oasis city, as well as being one of the hottest cities in the world. There's not much to see, but the 7000 year old ruins are the basis of Jericho's claim to being the oldest city in the world. Across from the famous walls (unimpressive) flows Elisha's Fountain which was desalinated by the Prophet Elisha and is the source of Jericho's lush greenery. This is now an Arab town, and much building is going on.

Qumeran: 26 miles southeast of Jerusalem. The center of the Essene Community which lived here in the 2nd century BC to the 1st century, and whose manuscripts (The Dead Sea Scrolls) were discovered in the surrounding caves 2000 years later.

The Dead Sea: This area is considered by many to be the most fascinating parts of Israel, after Jerusalem. At 1200 feet below sea level, this is the lowest point on earth. Because of the high salt content, swimming is quite an experience. It is recommended that you visit only if you wish to try the water, which is really interesting. Be sure and take along a pair of slippers. Walking out to the water is rough.

Bethany Village (El Eizarija): (Bus 43 from Damascus Gate). This is an Arab village with a beautiful church... on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Bethany is where Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead. Also here, is the home of Mary where Jesus lived during his stay in Jerusalem.

Masada: One of the most remarkable archeological sites in Israel. This huge fortress-palace, originally built as a resort by King Herod on top of a plateau, was the scene of the last holdout of the Jews against the Romans. When defeat was imminent, the Jews all committed suicide together, rather than to submit. It's necessary to go with a tour...start early...take a canteen of water. The hike up takes about an hour, and the last cable car down is at 4 PM. Some say that Masada is not "too interesting, unless you're Jewish" and the food is bad.

Sea of Galilee: Here you'll find the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes, and the outstanding Capernaum excavations, and Mount of Beatitudes, a beautiful spot where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and walked on the waters. It will be very hot in this area.

Nazareth: The home of Jesus, and the largest Arab town in Israel. The major sight is the Basilica of the Annunciation, built in 1966 on the spot where the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear the Son of God. Also see the Greek Orthodox Church, near the Arab market.

Tiberias: This is the major town around the Sea of Galilee... full of vacationers. Be prepared for 24-hour hot weather in summer. The daytime activity is taking the 45 minute boat ride across the sea to the Kibbutz of Ein Gey.

The River Jordan: You will be able to stop at the area where Jesus was baptized. Expect to see some pilgrims going through the same ritual.

Halfa: This is the most modern Israeli city. The buildings are new, the streets are clean. Built on a hill, the views from the upper section are remarkable. It's also a good city for public gardens and forests. Haifa University is located here.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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