Christianity is one of the central monotheistic religions and has the largest number believers worldwide.
Christianity was born in the Land of Israel some 2,000 years ago and is based on the story of Jesus. During the 400 years A.D., and particularly after Christianity has become the official religion of the Roman Empire at the 4th century A.D., Christianity became the dominant religion throughout Europe and the Western World . During the Colonial era (from the end of the Middle-Ages and up to the middle of the 20th century), Christianity has spread to the European colonies, and at present, the majority of Christians, live outside the Western World.
Pilgrimage tourism to the Holy Land is the Christian pilgrimage. The pilgrim-tourist makes pilgrimage to the Christian holly sites, churches and other places that Jesus visited or stayed in.
The pilgrimage to the holy places is one of the deepest religious experiences for each of the monotheistic religions, and this tradition exists in Christianity for already 1,500 years.
Israel is called in the Christian tradition “Terra Sancta” (the Holy Land), because it is the cradle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the place of vision for the Old and New Testament stories.
There are some 30-40 pilgrimage sites which are a must for a tourist who is on a pilgrimage tour of Israel. 50% of these sites are concentrated in the Jerusalem area and in a short distance ride from the city. 30% of the sites are in the Galilee and around the Sea of Nazareth, and the rest of it, in the Western Galilee and at the Israel costal plane.
The sites visited by the pilgrim-tourist are mainly connected to the journeys of Jesus throughout the Holy Land and those which are mentioned in the New Testament.
Our tour programs to the various Christian sites by their differing geographical locations will enable the visitors to get acquainted with the places, the figures and the events as they are described in the New Testament.
Who are the Druze?
The Druze religion starts at the beginning of the 11th century, when it branched off the Islam. The precursor of this new sect was the Egyptian ruler Abu ‘Ali Mansur Tāriqu l-Ḥākim (meaning the “Ruler by Allah’s Command”), who claimed before his court people that he has had a divine revelation, and his close family (probably his sons) secretly eliminated him; this mistake caused the hearsay that he was not dead and is going to be reincarnated as did Eliyahou the prophet, in the Jewish religion.
In 1017 Hamza Ben-Ali has set the principles of the Druze religion which remain confidential. Only the believers among the Druze are erudite in its teaching and laws, and this is transmitted orally from one generation to the next. For any person who has not shared the secret, the Druze religion remains secret and full of mystery.
Being a secluded and persecuted religion, the Druze had found refuge on the Hermon and in Southern Lebanon.
In Israel they live on the Carmel, the Galilee and on the Golan Heights. Many of them serve in the IDF in combatant units. Our excursion to the Druze villages and municipal centers will enable us to learn about their heritage, the folklore and everyday life.
As for the culinary part, we will have the occasion to be introduced to the unique Druze kitchen.
In addition we will visit the holy sites of the Druze community like Nabi Shu’ayb, Nabi Sablan and Nabi Hazouri, as well as other sites.
Jerusalem is the third important city for Islam after Mekka and Medina.
In the night journey of Mohammed, described in the Koran’s 17th Sura it says: “Shall be praised the one who takes his servant on a journey through the night, from the holly mosque to the farthest mosque that had blessed its surroundings, for the purpose of manifesting our marks.”
The visit of the temple Mount is one of the most beautiful and fascinating among the sites of our land. We shall visit the many and various buildings erected on the Temple Mount over the long years of History.
The Epiphany Holiday (the Revelation Holiday – Immersion in the Jordan River)
“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mathew 3:16)
On the 18th-19th January of each year the oriental churches celebrate the seminal moment in the life of Jesus: the baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist in a place called KASSER AL YAHOUD.
The churches’ leaders accompanied by their religious entourage and believers descend to the Jordan river and bless its water.
Our journey to this event and to the site, will take place on Monday the 19th January, the day of the baptism ceremony’s happening, conducted by the Syrian and Coptic Churches.
We will watch the colorful ceremony and the baptism. From there we will continue to the nearby Dir Hajla monastery, one of the monasteries in the Judea desert dedicated to St. Gerassimus. We will visit the monastery and the special crypt. From there we will walk east towards to the Wadi Nouheil caves, close to the monastery where monks used to seclude themselves during the Byzantine era.
TheShrine of the Báb known as the “Golden Dome” is one of Haifa’s landmarks.
The faith is one of the world’s youngest religions. It was founded in 1884 at the city of Shiraz in Iran, with the appearance of the Baha’i, the “Precursor”,Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shírází. He announced that his role is to pave the way for the arrival of the Great Prophet, who will open a new chapter in the history of man, a chapter of peace, tranquility and unity. During his six years of activity, thousands of Shiite Moslems gathered around him that have been waiting for the revelation.
Mirza Hussein Ali, a descendent of the ancient Sasanian dynasty. He was called the Bahá’u’lláh, and his followers and believers have been called after him the Baha’is. Being of high rank, the Iranian authorities did not execute him but exiled him to the Akko prison. His son, Abdul, who took over the leadership, was also imprisoned and was set free in 1908, and set Haifa as the holiest city for the faith.
The Golden Dome was built in 1953. It is made of Italian marble, and is supported by pink granite columns. The height of the dome is 40 meters and is covered with 14,000 gold plated bricks which were imported from Holland. As all Baha’I temples it has nine rib sides which symbolize the nine biggest religions.
The eighteen monumental hanging gardens connect the foot of the mountain with its top – nine of them above the temple and nine underneath it. The gardens’ designer is the architect Fariborz Sahba, who gained world fame for his design of the Bahá’í Lotus Shrine in India.
In addition to Haifa, Akko is also a sacred place for the Bahá’í faith, being the burial place of the Bahá’u’lláh, which is surrounded by magnificent gardens. At first the Bahá’u’lláh and his followers were placed at the old fortress of Akko, which served as a prison, and at some point the authorities allowed Bahá’u’lláh and his followers to leave the prison and settle in the city. After the Bahá’u’lláh moved from one place to another, he finally settled down at a beautiful mansion at the north of the city which is called by the Mansion of Bahjí (the small garden). Here he lived up to his death in 1892.