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CHRISTMAS HOLY LAND TOUR DEC 2015

Dec 17—Jan 3rd

(Egypt & Jordan Options thru. Jan 3rd)

Director/Host: Dr. Clark D. Anderson & Ryan Ogden

Price: $2,500 for Israel/Palestine Portion

$1,750 for Petra & Egypt Extension 

(Price includes in country flights but does NOT include the flight to and from Tel Aviv or Cairo)

*Note: This Tour is a ‘Service Tour’ which means it includes some elements of Service activities, particularly in Bethlehem!

Day 1-2 (Thurs—Fri Dec 17—18th):   FLY USA to TEL AVIV / WESTERN WALL

Today we fly from the USA to Tel Aviv.  When we arrive we will go directly to the Mount of Olives for a view of ‘the Golden City’. We will check into our hotel and then will spend the evening witnessing and experiencing how the Orthodox Jews bring in the Sabbath at the Western Wall! We overnight in Jerusalem. Our hotel is only steps away from the Old City.

Day 3 (Sat Dec 19th):  GETHSEMANE / CHURCH / MT. OLIVES / BETHESDA

Today just might be the most memorable of all as we begin our day with a walk through what many believe is the real Gethsemane: the Orson Hyde Memorial Park (Church regulated property). Here we enjoy a discussion and some ponder time. The view of Jerusalem during our Sacrament Service in the BYU Jerusalem Center is inspiring. On our way to lunch we will wander down the Mt. of Olives and pass thousands of Jewish graves, including those of the Biblical Prophets; Haggai, Zechariah, & Malachi. Lunch is a unique place near the Old City. We will then visit St. Anne’s where the ancient site is for the Pool of Bethesda. We enjoy a relaxed evening and overnight in Jerusalem.

Day 4 (Sun Dec 20th):   TEMPLE MOUNT / MUSEUMS / OLD CITY WALLS

This morning we will make an early morning visit to the Temple Mount where we see the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall, etc. We will view the current structures and discuss the past as well as the future of that site. From here we will have a sobering experience at the new and improved Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem. Our next stop is a very impressive miniature model of the city of Jerusalem in Christ’s day; The Model City. Lunch will be on the famous Ben Yehuda Street. This will be followed up with an experience at the “Time Elevator Jerusalem” (a fun movie experience that recounts the history of Jerusalem). Time permitting we will also enjoy a walk on the rampart which is on top of the Old City Walls of Jerusalem. We again overnight in Jerusalem.

Day 5 (Mon Dec 21st):  THE LAST WEEK OF THE SAVIORS LIFE!

Today is one of our most enjoyable days as we venture through the wonders of the ‘Eternal City’ and retrace the events and sites of the last week of the Saviors Life! We begin in the Upper Room where the Savior held the Last Supper. From here we travel over to the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane (Church of all Nations). We next visit Caiaphas’ Palace (St. Peter of Gallicantu) where Jesus went before the Sanhedrin and where Peter allegedly denied Christ thrice. Following lunch we will enjoy a stop at the Antonio Fortress (Jesus before Pilate). From here we will be on the Via Dolorosa (or Path of Suffering). This is the path Jesus carried His cross to Golgotha. From here we will reflect on the burial & resurrection of the Savior as we visit the two possible sites for Golgotha & Calvary. First we visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher [believed site for many Christians] and then the Garden Tomb [where others feel is the true site]. As we make our way back to the hotel we will be introduced to the shopkeeper that makes LDS scripture covers, necklaces, etc.  We overnight in Jerusalem!

Day 6 (Tues Dec 22nd):  CAESAREA / Mt. CARMEL & TABOR / NAZARETH / MEGIDO

Today we make our way up north and will make a brief stop near Caesarea where we will view the ancient Roman Theater near the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Our next stop is Mount Carmel (Elijah & the Priests of Baal). From here there is a great view of the Jezreel Valley (Valley of Armageddon). From this vantage point we will discuss Armageddon, the 2nd Coming and the future of this Holy Land. Following lunch, near Carmel, we will drive to Mount Precipice where there is a view of where Jesus spent most of His life, Nazareth. From here we also have a great view of Mt. Tabor (Mount of Transfiguration) and will read & reflect on that amazing experience! We will conclude our day by visiting Yardenit at the Jordan River (Jesus’ traditional baptismal site). Checking into our Hotel this evening is a joy. Every room is only steps away from the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Following dinner at our Hotel, you can enjoy a quiet, relaxing evening strolling on the Sea shores, etc.

Day 7 (Wed Dec 23rd):   SEA OF GALILEE / CAPERNAUM / BEATITUDES / DAN

After breakfast we will load a small fishing boat and cross the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum. On our way we cut the engines & have a short discussion. On shore we’ll visit Capernaum and the Mount of Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered. Following lunch we will take a short nature hike to the ancient city and alter at Tel Dan. Our next stop will be at Banias, the ancient site of Caesarea Philippi, where we will view a beautiful waterfall. As we bus our way home we travel on the Golan Heights where we can look over into Syria. Dinner is a unique experience where those interested can enjoy St. Peter’s Fish that will be followed by another relaxing evening by the Sea of Galilee.

Day 8 (Thurs Dec 24th):   JERICHO / LAZARUS’ TOMB / TUNNEL / BETHLEHEM!

Today we will make our way back to Jerusalem and spend our afternoon and evening in Bethlehem and the Shepherd’s Fields for Christmas Eve! On our way to Bethlehem we will pass the modern city and ancient ruins of Jericho and also make a short visit to Bethany where we will see Lazarus’ Tomb. When we reach Jerusalem those who are interested will walk through the flowing water in Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This afternoon we will cross through ‘The Wall’ into Bethlehem for lunch and visit Manger Square to witness the annual event where Christians from all over the country parade through the Square. This evening will be truly unforgettable as we spend Christmas Eve recounting the story of the Nativity in Luke II in the Shepherds Fields near Bethlehem! For those interested we will attend the famous ‘Midnight Mass’ held in the Church of the Nativity which is broadcast to Catholics all over the world. We overnight in Bethlehem.

Day 9 (Fri Dec 25th):   CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM!

Christmas Day in Bethlehem is one that will last in our memories forever as we spend the day in service and in visiting the traditional sites for the Savior’s birth. Our service activities today will include working at the SOS Orphanage. In the afternoon we will pay a visit to the Church of the Nativity where on Christmas Day we will visit the actual site where the Christ Child was born many years ago. We will enjoy an evening of sharing and caring and overnight again in Bethlehem.

Day 10 (Sat Dec 26th):   BETHLEHEM: SERVICE DAY

Today we will enjoy a full day of serving at the local orphanage in Bethlehem! This will be an opportunity to give to a community that has been hurting and suffering in many ways since the building of The Wall. This evening we will enjoy our “Last Supper” in Palestine and the Holy Land and overnight for our last time in Bethlehem.

Day 11 (Sun Dec 27th)     FLY HOME!

Those heading home will begin their journey back to the USA and reunite with their loved ones!

ADD EGYPT & PETRA OPTION:  $1,750

Day 11 (Sun Dec 27th):  MASADA / PETRA, JORDAN 

Those continuing on into Jordan and Egypt will depart Bethlehem and Jerusalem and go ‘down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea’ (1 Nephi 2:5). As we do so we will be traveling on the road from ‘Jerusalem to Jericho’ and we will reflect on a certain parable (Luke 10). When we arrive at the lowest point on the face of the planet we will have the unique experience of taking a float in the Dead Sea. You cannot sink! From here we make our way past Qumram (discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and stop for a picture of the natural spring and waterfall at Ein-Gedi (where David hid from King Saul). From here we will pass the majestic Masada where we will discuss its fabulous story. On our way to the Israeli/Jordanian border we will also enjoy a discussion on Sodom & Gomorrah. We will cross the border and make our way up to fascinating city of Petra, Jordan where we will overnight.

Day 12 (Mon Dec 28th):   PETRA, JORDAN / EGYPT

This morning we explore Petra, one of the newly voted “7 Wonder of the World.” We will walk down the narrow canyon to the breathtaking view of the Treasury, Petra’s most famous landmark. You will have time to visit this fascinating city carved from the cliffs of the canyon and experience some of the best ruins found anywhere in the world. Petra was once a great commercial empire with a long history, it is best known today as the lost city in the Indiana Jones Movie, The Last Crusade.  This afternoon we will make our way over to St. Catherine’s in Egypt. After crossing the border we will bus our way to our Hotel (the Morganland Village) which is near the base of “Mt. Moses”. We will enjoy a relaxing evening reviewing the scriptural account of Moses and the Children of Israel in preparation for our climb up the ancient temple….Mt Sinai.

Day 13 (Tues Dec 29th):   MT. SINAI / SHARM / RED SEA 

This morning we arise very early and enjoy a moonlight hike up Mount Sinai (Camels are available for those not able to make the entire hike or who would like the adventure). On top we will enjoy the sunrise and a very special meeting before making our descent. Those not able to make the hike can enjoy sleeping in or other things at the hotel. Once off the mountain we will bus our way to one of the very best locations for snorkeling and deep sea diving in the world…Sharm El Sheikh (Ras Mohammed). Arriving at this luxurious resort is a very welcomed experience following our early morning hike. We will enjoy all the amenities and comfort of this 5-star resort for the next day and a half. There will time for deep sea diving, snorkeling, swimming, reading, relaxing, etc. This evening you can join in on the New Year’s Eve celebrations at the beautiful resort!

Day 14 (Wed Dec 30th):   RED SEA 

Today we will continue to enjoy the Red Sea. Those who desire can enjoy some of the world’s best snorkeling & deep sea diving and those who are not interested in getting in the water can relax at the resort hotel which has several beautiful pools, a lazy river, spa options, etc. This evening those interested in visiting Naama Bay can do so. It is fun to see the exciting night life and shopping of this popular resort city before retiring. We once again overnight in Sharm.

Day 15 (Thurs Dec 31st):   LUXOR: TEMPLES (New Years Eve!)

This morning we take a short flight from Sharm to Luxor. We will first enjoy lunch and then begin our exploration of Luxor where over 60% of the world’s ancient ruins are located. Today we will explore the sites on the East bank of the river Nile. Our first site is one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and is also one of the largest temple structures in the world; the Karnak Temple. You will truly be amazed at this 64 acre temple. Following dinner we will enjoy an evening visit to the impressive Luxor Temple. These structures are amazing and must be seen to be believed. You might even enjoy these experiences more than the Pyramids in Cairo! We will enjoy celebrating New Year’s Eve and bringing in the New Year at our Sheraton Hotel in Luxor which is right on the Nile River!

Day 16 (Fri Jan 1st):  LUXOR: VALLEY OF KINGS

On this New Year’s Day we will get to explore the sites on the West Bank where we will visit one of the most intriguing spots in the world; the “Valley of the Kings” and “Valley of the Queens” (burial place for the Egyptian Pharaohs & Queens). You will marvel at the similarities in Egyptian and LDS beliefs and rituals! We will next take pictures of the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the Collosi of Memnon & Nobels as well as Pit Tomb #33 where the Book of Abraham was discovered. We will next explore the Temple of Ramses III. Alabaster is mined near Luxor and we will visit a shop that specializes in hand carving alabaster items. This evening we will take a short flight to Cairo and overnight.

Day 17 (Sat Jan 2nd):   CAIRO:  PYRAMIDS / MUSEUM

Today we enjoy a full day touring the sites in Cairo! We begin with the splendor of the famous Pyramids and Sphinx. Those interested can go inside the Pyramid as well as take a camel ride. From here we will make a visit to the Egyptian Museum and explore all the unique items there (including the opportunity to view real live mummies as well as King Tut items). This afternoon we will visit one of the largest mosques in the world; the Mohamed Ali Mosque. With any luck we will also visit Memphis and Sakkara (the oldest pyramid in the world). We will enjoy a short rest in our hotel rooms before making our way to the airport to begin our journey home!

Day 18 (Sun Jan 3rd):   FLY HOME

Today we arrive at our homes in the USA and will be reunited with our loved ones!