The Holy Lands
The Holy Lands
Have you always dreamt of a visit to the exotic and famed Holy Lands? Does it set your heart aflame when you imagine yourself exploring the ancient hotbed of religious culture that is Jerusalem? Perhaps you long to float your cares away in the salty Dead Sea after a trip to your favorite sacred site. Wherever your pilgrimage takes you, the ancient Holy Lands of the Middle East will intoxicate you like no other place on Earth - all that’s needed is an open heart and a thirst for the sacred.
Walk Through The Bibles Pages
Ready to walk through the bible’s pages? It’s time to explore the West Bank and Gaza Strip - where you’ll feel as if you’ve entered the ancient landscape of Jesus, his disciples, and all the biblical characters you’ve read about over the course of your religious studies.
Everyone on earth has heard of the famed little town of Bethlehem - where Jesus was born of the blessed Virgin Mary. Walk slowly and contemplatively through Bethlehem’s narrow, winding footpaths - so ancient that its first people were said to have taken up residency here as early as the Paleolithic age. In Bethlehem, you won’t want to miss the Church of the Nativity, the birthplace of baby Jesus. It’s also the oldest church in the entire world. This basilica merits a walking tour, as it has been recently restored to all of its ancient splendor. To avoid the crowds and relish in the quiet sacred of the nativity grotto, visit on a weekday, preferably during lunchtime hours.
From Bethlehem, make your way to the village next door, known as Beit Sahour, where according to the Bible, shepherds “watched their flock by night,” and the angel in Luke 2:10-11 came to them to gently say, ”do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been to you. He is Christ the Lord.” Step inside the diminutive chapel that once provided sacred space for these shepherds, to say your own prayers of grace and gratitude for this opportunity that most people only dream of - leisurely exploring these spiritual lands of myth and mystery.
Church of Nativity
In Bethlehem, you may wish to tuck yourself in for the night at Dar Sitti Aziza, a lovely guesthouse with a garden and terrace, located close to Manger Square, the Milk Grotto and the Church of the Nativity. For the younger travelers, there’s even a youth hostel nearby. The Bethlehem Youth Hostel offers up simple accommodations and even a coffee bar with local treats and eats. For the most adventurous among you, Bedouin home stays are available in the south Hebron Hills of the arid desert.
Age-old Jericho is well-worth a visit on your pilgrimage. It’s actually the most ancient city on earth, having housed residents since the beginning of time. If you’re looking to relax a bit from the often fast-pace of travel, you’ll find relief in Jericho, where the pace is much slower than other towns in the region. Again, you’ll find yourself roaming biblical streets, as this is the place where John the Baptist was christened in the river Jordan. To explore the old renowned Samaritan community, head to Nablus, located in the northern part of the West Bank. Nablus has seen much strife in recent history, so do check to see if it’s safe for tourists to travel here.
Many of you may have had Gaza City on your bucket list for years. This strategic town is said to have been taken over and annihilated more than any other city on the planet. Unfortunately, Gaza continues to be unstable. If it is safe for tourists when you find yourself on your holy journey, check out the Mosque of Said Hashim, aptly named after Mohammed the prophet’s great-grandfather. After your visit to this famed mosque, stroll over to the Gold Market to choose a pretty piece of jewelry for your beloved. Continuing with the shopping theme, a visit to the Arts and Crafts Village will fulfill your desires for Palestinian worldly goods. Look for wood working, copper working, weaving, and embroidery - all crafted in the traditional Palestinian style. No visit to Gaza City would be complete without a restorative soak in one of the bathhouses of the Hamman al-Samara. Check the hours though, as women’s and men’s admittance times are not the same.
Wherever your spiritual pilgrimages take you, and whenever you find yourself wandering these Holy lands, do so with reverence and awareness. While it may be a place of strife and unrest, it’s also a place of extreme tranquility and beauty. As with any of the greatest places on earth, it’s certainly not a region that can be pigeon-holed or narrowed down to any stereotypical definition. It is wildly complex, maddenly contradictory - perfect for intrepid travelers of all faiths, and from all walks of life.
Dining in the Holy Lands will suit any and every palette. When you find yourself in Nablus, perhaps making a pilgrimage to the Al-kebir Mosque, drop into a little eatery known as Al Aqsa. This restaurant is famous for its kunafeh, said to be the best in all of Palestine. Don’t expect any fine dining here - you’ll most likely find yourself eating casually - standing outside with the locals. So, don your walking shoes and enjoy the local treat of kunafeh, a cheesy soaked wheat extravaganza. For some of the best falafel and mezze platters in the region, head to Jericho for lunch or dinner at Al Essawe. It’s located near Jericho’s main square and offers excellent people-watching from the terrace on the restaurant’s second floor. If you’re not in the mood to eat, but are looking for an entertaining place from which to watch the hustle and bustle go by, there’s a rooftop patio that serves up delicious coffee and shisha. Ever heard of masabacha - the staple of warm hummus topped with whole chickpeas? Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? To try this mouth-watering Middle Eastern treat, head over to the little town of Bethlehem to a restaurant that’s been around for years and years. Afteem is located just a stone’s throw away from Manger Square.
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Lisa Allen0 Photos0 Thanks1 Reviews
Beautiful Holy Land!
I've always wanted to visit The Holy Land where Jesus walked, talked, and gave so much to us all!!! Especially after my grandmother and mother came back from visiting and shared their stories of The Beautiful Holy Land! Glory to @#$*! in The Highests!!!😊👆💖😇💖
GaryandSue Halsey0 Photos0 Thanks1 Reviews
The Desert is Blooming as a Rose!!!
I've never been but I've dreamed of going for years & I believe this is my year!!I want to walk the streets of the old city& visit the empty tomb . I really want to visit the Dead Sea & the Sea of Galilee. I heard it was so beautiful!! I pray you will pick me. Thank you Sue Halsey!!
Teresa Magone0 Photos0 Thanks1 Reviews
Blessed is the Lord, and his Holy place
I would be beyond myself to walk where Jesus was. The Holy Spirit would swell in me, and I would be most appreciative for the opportunity :) Thank You
Samantha Rodak0 Photos0 Thanks1 Reviews
best way to show @#$*! u love him u honor him and worship him. amen . this would be a blessing come
Jackie Bonifate0 Photos1 Thanks1 Reviews
Looking at the Holy Land through my Fathers eyes
The thought process of being able to walk where Jesus walked is phenomenal. My father read his bible daily, recorded Radio broadcast and tv sermons. It would be an honor to be able to take part in such a wonder visit.
Robin Anderson0 Photos1 Thanks1 Reviews
i could only dream of this
i want to be a part of the walk and understand to be closer the holy spirit and Jesus this is the only way
L'Erin Brooks0 Photos2 Thanks1 Reviews
READY TO BE CLOSER TO CHRIST
The Holy Lands are such Greatness of what @#$*!s word is.. I so desire to walk where Jesus once walked, to be that much closer to him. Wow