For untold centuries, the ancient land of Israel has beckoned to pilgrims and adventurers from the West. Sitting on a narrow wedge of land not much larger than the state of Connecticut but unaccountably rich in history, belief and meaning, Israel is also a fully modern state. Travelers will find a plethora of things to see and do; indeed, there is so much to see that you will likely have to plan several trips to see it all! In 2017, some 3.6 million tourists visited the Holy Land and pumped in excess of $20 billion into the Israeli economy, making tourism one of the leading industries in the country. The most popular attractions include the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the ancient fortress of Masada. You will find plenty of fellow Americans in attendance; in recent years one fifth of all tourists have been from the United States.
Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and one of the most ancient cities in the world, holy to all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Old City is divided into four quarters: Armenian, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish. The holiest site in all of Judaism is located here, the Western Wall, the last remaining remnant of the ancient Jewish temple and a site of continual prayer. High atop the mount sits the Al –Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest shrines in Islam, revered as the site where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. Nearby is the Mount of Olives and Kidron Valley, with Jewish tombs and burial grounds dating back some 3000 years. There are also numerous ancient churches including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which contains the supposed burial site of Jesus. A visit to Jerusalem is a must for any tourist to Israel and allows you to walk the streets where Jesus and the prophets once strode, where King David ruled in splendor, and where some of the earliest writings that later became the Bible were compiled.
Things to see and do in Israel don’t stop with Jerusalem. Tel Aviv is a modern city with many amenities, shopping, and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. National Geographic ranked Tel Aviv as one of the “world’s ten best beach cities”. It is also considered a mecca for gay life in the Middle East. The holy city of Safed is sacred in the Jewish tradition and is the site where much of the Jewish Talmud and the mystical writings of the kabbalah were assembled. Safed also contains the grave of the legendary Rabbi Shimon bar Yocha, considered by many to be the author of the Kabbalah. The city of Haifa includes the ancient Mahmood Mosque, and the cave of Elijah, a famous site associated with the prophet.
Tiberias is another holy site overlooking the Sea of Galilee and includes an ancient site traditionally revered as the home of St. Peter. Of course, the town of Nazareth is famous as the hometown of Jesus and the site of many of his reported acts and miracles. The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth marks the site from which the Archangel Gabriel announced the future birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary. The town of Beersheba is associated with the patriarch Abraham and is famous for its incense while the city of Eliat at the southern tip of Israel is a popular destination for scuba diving, camel riding, and wildlife observation.
No visit to the Holy Land would be complete without a trip to the ancient desert fortress of Masada. High atop a rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judean desert, it was the final refuge for Jewish rebels against Roman rule. More than 900 Jewish rebels committed suicide rather than face enslavement or worse at the hands of the Romans. To this day members of the Israeli Defense Forces take a solemn oath never to allow Masada to fall again.
These sites are just a smattering of the many historical and cultural places you can visit on a trip to Israel. Generally, weather conditions are mild though it can get quite hot during the summer! There are also numerous opportunities for fine dining, shopping, beach visits, winery tours and much, much more! Not to mention the many museums with their vast collections of ancient artifacts.
Don’t waste another moment! Contact Condor Tours and Travel today and let us help you get started on your adventure in the Holy Land! Visit their web site at www.condortoursandtravel.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.