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Immerse in the history and culture of Israel, Jordan and Egypt on this family tour of the Middle East. Visit some of the world’s holiest places including the Western Wall, the actual Stations of the Cross, and the Dome of the Rock and discover why Jerusalem is such a revered city for so many. Participate in an active archeological dig. Float in the Dead Sea. Peruse colorful and wild markets. Gallop on horseback or stroll through soaring, narrow canyons to visit the temple made famous by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at Petra in Jordan. Visit a local Bedouin tribe. Then it’s off to Egypt where ancient mummies and the Great Pyramids of Giza await. Take a morning ride on camelback to visit the pyramids, and even climb inside one of them to discover the royal tomb.
Upon arrival in Israel, you will be greeted by a representative who will help you through all the formalities and escort you to a driver for transfer to your hotel in Jerusalem. Balance of day at leisure to explore Jerusalem at leisure. Meet for welcome dinner with the group.
Visit the Western Wall, the last remaining wall of the original Temple, and witness the power of prayer as thousands of Jewish people visit the wall for reflection, prayer and debate. Then, uncover the many layers of Jerusalem’s past at the time of the Temple through the Western Walls Tunnels. Visit the Dome of the Rock, one of the holiest sites in the world of Islam. Explore the Arab Bazaar and Middle Eastern life with its rich colors, flavors and smells. Enjoy lunch (on your own accord) in the markets. Next, explore the Jewish Quarter, which was reconstructed after the city was unified after the Six-Day War in 1967. A special point of interest here is the “Cardo” meaning the heart of the Byzantine City. In Emek Tzurim, we’ll spend a couple of hours taking part in an archeological dig, working with the actual debris of the Temple Mount. This is the area in which discoveries and finds are being made daily shedding light on the early periods of Jerusalem’s history.
In the evening, we will enter the Tower of David to see the famous Sound and Light Show, which engages travelers of all ages as it displays the history of Jerusalem along the ancient stone walls of the city.
Today, visit the Christian Quarter and walk in the path of Jesus as you follow the actual Stations of the Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place some historians believe to be the Crucifixion spot and visit the tomb of Jesus. Visit the Armenian Quarter to learn about the history of the people, completing your cultural tour of the city.
After lunch (on your own accord), make your way to visit the renovated and exciting Israel Museum, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are exhibited. The museum itself has a vast, priceless collection of archeological finds and artifacts.
Then, visit the Machane Yehuda Market with a Shuk Bites Card that allows you to taste the shopkeepers’ daily specials. The market is full of flavors and fragrances and you will hear fascinating stories, a bit of history, meet colorful characters and taste some of the unique market delicacies such as halva, homemade Jerusalem ice cream, superb olive oils, soup, pickled vegetables, and more.
Spend a day at leisure to explore the city of Jerusalem some more on your own. Or, join one of two optional tours: A day trip to Tel Aviv with a Segway tour along the boardwalk and port and some time to relax on the beach or a day trip to Bethlehem and scene of the Nativity.
After breakfast, head southeast towards the lowest place on earth. Visit the legendary mountaintop plateau of Masada and ascend by cable car to the ancient fortress. Explore the site with its synagogue and bathhouse. Here, was the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots in their struggle against the Roman Empire. Continue to the shores of the Dead Sea where you can float with a feeling of weightlessness due to the high salt content of the water and enjoy the healing properties of the mud. Enjoy lunch (on your own accord) near the sea.
In the afternoon, head towards the city of Arad and arrive at Kfar Hanokdim, a green oasis shaded by palm trees and crowned with biblically inspired gardens. Tucked amongst the lush gardens, discover Bedouin tents comfortably fitted with colorful rugs and mattresses, your home for the night. Enjoy a short camel ride at the Kana’im Valley. Your Bedouin hosts will demonstrate traditional coffee making ceremony while sharing stories from their history. Then, dine on a traditional meal and end the day with a lovely bonfire where you can relax and discuss the day’s adventures.
Overnight Kfar Hanokdim Bedouin Camp
After breakfast, bid farewell to your Bedouin hosts and head south for the Arava border where we will cross into Jordan. Continue to Wadi Rum, which is the biggest desert in Jordan and a protected area where Sir Lawrence (of Arabia) wrote the seven pillars of wisdom. Enjoy a two-hour Jeep ride through the desert, visiting Bburrah canyon via Alameleh, Lawrence house and Siq Lawrence.
Continue on to Petra where you will have an evening at leisure.
This morning, head for a full-day tour to discover the Nabatean City of Petra. Also known as the “Pink City”, this has been ranked as one of the New Wonders of the World and is a UNSECO World Heritage site. The tour will start by horseback to the mouth of a Siq, a 1200-meter narrow canyon gorge with soaring red walls. Walk through the canyon taking in the beauty of the cliff walls, but be prepared to be even more amazed as the canyon opens to reveal the Al-Khazneh (the Treasury), the temple featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Carved directly into the cliff face, the 100-foot wide and 120-foot tall Nabatean temple was carved in Greek Hellenistic style. It is truly breathtaking. Continue on in the canyon to discover the Street of Facades, the Theatre, which was inspired by Roman architecture. Built by the Nabateans in the 1st Century, it is carved into mostly solid rock and could seat up to 7,000 people.
Finish the day with a drive to Amman where we will board a flight to Egypt.
After breakfast, head out to the Egyptian museum where hundreds of thousands of ancient artifacts, some as tiny as a tooth and some as large as a two-room sarcophagus, tell the story of one of the most mysterious cultures on earth. Visit the Mummy room where Egyptian kings like Ramses II lay at rest. Witness the wealth of King Tut’s legacy in his treasures including his famous gold and black striped head-piece. Then, head Old Cairo to learn about the history of the city. In the afternoon take a boat ride along the Nile before heading to the market to take in the sights and smells of local Egyptian life and do some shopping for handicrafts and have dinner.
After breakfast, head out of Cairo to the nearby city/suburb of Giza. As you leave the tall buildings of the city behind, catch glimpses of some of the world’s most famous buildings: the Great Pyramids of Giza. Check in to the hotel and check out the views over this amazing Ancient Wonder of the World and UNESCO World Heritage site.
Take in the sunset over the Great Pyramids, a site you won’t soon forget.
Head out to explore the pyramids by camelback heading through the desert and around to the back side of the pyramids for a peaceful view of the pyramids and surrounding deserts. Learn about the history of the tombs of each of the three main pyramids: Khufu/Cheops, Khafre/Chephren and Menkaure, as well as the surrounding satellite pyramids. Continue on, by foot or camelback, to the Pyramid of Khfu, the largest and oldest of the pyramids, where you will have the chance to ascend into the tomb at the center of the pyramid. At a small museum in the complex, learn about the funerary boats believed to safely shelter the royal families into the afterlife. Then, visit the Tombs of the Pyramid Builders, where the thousands of people who worked to construct the pyramids are buried upon completion, taking the secrets of the pyramids to their grave. Finally, head to the front of the complex to come face to face with one of the world’s most famous statues, the Sphinx.
After lunch in Giza, head back to Cairo where you can spend the remainder of day at leisure.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
Optional add-on: 3-night boat cruise from Aswan to Luxor with tour of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.
- Visit to Western Wall including Western Wall Tunnels
- Visit to Dome of Rock and Arab Quarter
- Stations of the Cross and tour of Church of Holy Sepulchre
- Archeological dig in Jerusalem
- Sound and Light show in Jerusalem
- Machane Yehuda Market tour including Shuk Bites Card
- Optional: Tel-Aviv Day trip with Segway tour or Bethlehem day-trip
- Visit to Masada
- Visit to Dead Sea
- Camel ride, dinner and campfire in Bedouin camp
- 2-Hour Jeep ride in Wadi Rum
- Full-day visit to Petra with horseback ride to entrance
- Egyptian Museum visit
- Old Cairo visit
- Camelback ride and visit to Great Pyramids
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