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Touring the Bible lands is similar to visiting a vast living museum. There is far more to see and do than we can accomplish in one visit. The sites we suggest as "must-see" sites are not only those which have special meaning to those of us reared in the Judeo-Christian tradition  but are of significance in biblical archaeology.

Sites in Egypt

This section is still under construction.

Sites in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

The Decapolis

The ten-city Greco-Roman league, with much of its ancient territory now lying in Jordan, which occupied all of Bashan and Gilead in northeastern Palestine.

Jerash

Best example of a Greco-Roman city in the Near East. The amphitheater is magnificent. The site is the venue of the Jerash Festival showcasing the culture of the region.

Madaba

Madaba is known as the city of mosaics due to the large number of mosaic floors found in the remains of its ancient houses and public buildings. The most important moasic is the Madaba Mosaic Map.

Pella

A city of the Decapolis cited in Christian tradition as a place of refuge for Judeo-Christians leaving Jerusalem  before the 66-70 CE First Jewish Revolt.

Petra

The rose-red tomb city of the Nabataeans. Plan to spend a whole day and to hike a lot. Be sure to visit The Treasury and the Monastery (both were tombs). We suggest dinner at the Petra Forum Hotel.

Ain Ghazal

An important Neolithic settlement where investigators found human skulls and plaster statues.

Umm el-Jimal

Extensive ruins of a Roman-Byzantine Umayyad town built on an earlier Nabataean settlement.

Sites in the State of Israel

Bet She'an

A Greco-Roman city in the Decapolis.

Caesarea

A Roman city founded by Herod the Great. Check out the amphitheaters and the excavations.

Capernaum

Located on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinnereth). This city appears in the gospels several times. Visit the House of St. Peter and the White Synagogue. The White Synagogue is built over the ruins of the basalt synagogue of Mark 1:21; 3:1; Luke 4:33-38.

Cenacle and the Tomb of David

The remnants of a first century Judeo-Christian synagogue, the Mother of All Churches (also Church of the Apostles), built ca. CE 75. For Jews this site is the traditional location of David's Tomb (the pseudo-tomb not the actual tomb) marked by a small synagogue on the first floor. Christians regard this location as that of the ancient venue of the Upper Room or Cenacle.

Dan

A fifty-acre tell Tel Dan lies at the foot of Mount Hermon. The city rose to prominence as the result of the division of the Solomonic kingdom into two nations--Israel and Judah. Jeroboam I, afraid to allow his people to go to Jerusalem to sacrifice, created a high place for worship here.

Hazor

Hazor is an important northern Israel Bronze Age site located north of the Sea of Galilee near Rosh Pina. Situated at a strategic point along the route connecting Egypt with Babylonia and Syria, Hazor was one of the most important cities of Canaan and ancient Israel. The remains of ancient Hazor constitute the largest archaeological site from the biblical period in Israel, covering some 200 acres.

Hezekiah's Water Tunnel

A magnificent tunnel created by Hezekiah to provide Jerusalem with fresh water during a siege. Bring a waterproof flashlight, a change of clothing, and be prepared to wade at times in water up to your neck. Children waiting to help you out of the tunnel expect a tip. They usually want your flashlight and they are known to grab your flashlight or your camera and run. Women tourists are particularly vulnerable and we advise that you plan to give a small tip.

Holy Land Hotel Model of Jerusalem.

A model of Herodian Jerusalem. This should provide you with a better concept of the ancient city as it was in the middle first century CE.. Remember that this is only a model, based upon considerable supposition, so do not assume that your exposure is absolute truth. Archaeology does not work in that manner.

Israel Museum and Shrine of the Book & the Bible Lands Museum

Both museums have excellent archaeological collections. Take a museum tour where a guide takes you through. This will make your visit a learning experience not simply an exposure to more pretty pots.

Lachish

A fortress city which fell to Nebuchadnezzar (see Jeremiah 34:7). Note the fortifications and the siege ramps.

Masada

The place of Jewish martyrs in the revolt against the Romans CE 66-73. The view and the ruins are breathtaking.

Megiddo

This royal city of the Canaanites, located 22 miles north of Shechem on the southern edge of the Valley of Jezreel, lies within one of the most famous battlegrounds in the world. According to the Bible it also has a future role.

Mount of Olives

We suggest you check the view of the Haram esh-Sharif from the Mount of Olives. The best view is the road immediately front of the hotel.

Haram esh-Sharif

The traditional site of Herod's Temple but probably the actual site of the Roman Fortress Antonia and not that of the Second Temple. The venue of the Second Temple was likely over the Gihon Spring south of the Haram esh-Sharif. Visit the archaeological park on the south wall, the platform including the Dome of the Rock, and take the tour along the central to north end of the Western Wall.

Visit the Western Wall (you may know it by the old name "The Wailing Wall"). Buy prints of artists reconstructions of the site in Herodian times from the vendors. These will help you conceptualize the site but do not ascend to the platform exposing such material.

The Muslim security people frown on any exposed material that appears Jewish or has anything to do with the Temple. They probably will expel you from the site, confiscate your material, and in any case rough you up a bit.

Qumran

The venue of a number of caves which housed the Dead Sea Scrolls preserved in earthen jars.

Sites in the Palestinian Territory

Bethlehem

This is the city of Jesus' birth. Claims that the cave in the Church of the Nativity is the site of Jesus' birth are outrageously speculative. Be sure to buy an olive wood souvenir to take home. Don't worry where to buy one you will find yourself recruited.

Jerico

Tell Jerico is an important Bronze Age site in the lower Jordan River Valley. According to the Hebrew Scriptures invading Israelites conquered and destroyed the city about 1400 BCE.

Sites in Syria

This section is still under construction.


Page last edited: 02/07/09 09:09 PM


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