The Holy Land is considered to be the region of what is today Israel and Palestine. Though a relatively small region of the world, it is filled with history, culture, various peoples and most of all, places of significance to the three Abrahamic faiths: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Traveling to the Holy Land is possible by three ways: by air through Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, by land through Jordan or Egypt, or by sea at one of two ports (Haifa and Ashdod). All visitors to the Holy Land require a passport valid six months prior to their date of entry. The local currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS), although US Dollars are accepted almost in every location. The Holy Land has a Mediterranean climate, with hot summers, warm springs and autumns, and wet winters.
The Holy Land is a safe, welcoming place for pilgrims; even during times of conflict in the region, pilgrims regularly safely arrive and leave after enjoying a full program.The regions that you will be visiting on your Holy Sepulcher Tours program are safe and hospitable to pilgrims.
Locations of the Holy Land
The city at the center of every pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Jerusalem is the spiritual center of the Christian faith. The Old City of Jerusalem includes the Via Dolorosa (the pilgrimage route of the retracing of the Stations of the Cross), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, place of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ, and innumerable Christian churches. Here is also found the Western Wall, sacred to the Jewish people, and the Dome of the Rock, sacred to Muslims. Outside of the Old City is the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane, both important places to the story of Christ’s Passion.
The city of the birthplace of Jesus is just 12 miles to the south of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest continuously-used churches in the world, is built over the manger where Christ was born. A short walk away from the Church of the Nativity is the Milk Grotto, where Christ first nursed the infant Jesus.
Located to the east of Bethlehem, this is the place where the angels told the shepherds of the birth of Christ in a manger. Beit Sahour is also associated with the fields of Boaz, important to Ruth, an important Old Testament figure. Today it is home to one of the largest Christian communities in the Holy Land.
Nazareth and Cana
While Christ was born in Bethlehem, all but three years of his life were spent in the city of Nazareth in the lower Galilee. It is in the nearby city of Cana that Christ performed his first miracle (known as the Wedding of Cana), and from Nazareth that Christ set out to other parts of the Holy Land to begin his ministry and perform miracles. Today, the city of Nazareth marks an important place on the pilgrimage trail, and is also home to the largest church in the Middle East, the Basilica of the Annunciation, which is built over the structure held to be the home of the Holy Family.
The place of Christ’s ministry, important sights include the Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Capernaum, the Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha and the Church of Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, and the Primacy of Peter. Also found in the Galilee is Mount Tabor, held to be the place of the Transfiguration.