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TREASURES OF THE LEVANTS

12 Days Archeological Experience in the Lands of the Bible 

Arrival at Tel Aviv International Airport.
Meeting and assistance by the Amiel Representative. Transfer to hotel in Tel Aviv.
Dinner & overnight in Tel Aviv Hotel.

DAY 2: COASTAL PLAIN & MT.  CARMEL

Our day begins in Old Jaffa: ‘Gate of Faith’ monument offering panoramic view of the Jaffa Bay and the modern city of Tel Aviv, Artists Quarter, Pharaonic Gate - excavations from the Egyptian period, Church of St. Peter on Simon the Tanner’s House, Crusader Rroom, underground archeological park (exposing remains from Christ's time Jaffa). Tel Aviv: visit the Biblical Numismatic Museum, (Optional meeting with chief numismatist). Drive through Sharon Valley to Caesarea: visit Roman Theater, Crusader moat, Herodian aqueduct and other remains from biblical Caesarea. Visit Recanati Museum for Caesarea Excavations; drive across Mt. Carmel to Lake of Galilee for Dinner & overnight.
Dinner & overnight at the Sea of Galilee in Kibbutz Ein-Gev or similar

DAY 3: ACRE, ZIPPORY

After breakfast drive to visit in Acre: Crusader Halls, Crypt, secret passage, Arab Market, Turkish Khan, Pisanian Port, marine walls;(on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea). Proceed to Zippori, also known by its Greek name Sepphoris - is first mentioned in Josephus Flavius' description of the reign of Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus. A few decades hence, Zippori had become the most important city in the Galilee. See the Crusader fortress on top of the hill, visible from a great distance; the villa built in the early third century with illustrations from the life of Dionysis, the Greek God of wine and the stunning mosaic in this building is known as the Mona Lisa of the Galilee; the Roman-period lower city with its carefully laid-out series of parallel and perpendicular streets; the Nile Mosaic building, a large fifth-century structure with an ornate mosaic floor depicting the festival held when the level of the Nile River reached its highest point; and the giant underground waterworks, built in the first century and in operation until the seventh. The 250-meter-long reservoir, which could hold 5000 cubic centimeters of water, is about a kilometer and a half away.
Proceed to Nazareth: remains of ancient Nazareth (buried under Church of the Annunciation), visit archeological museum.
** Optional Evening activity: Visit a Kibbutz: the Biblical fishing museum (meet a local fishermen, expert in Biblical fishing), three-D film: the Sea of Galilee.
Dinner & overnight at the Sea of Galilee in Kibbutz Ein-Gev or similar

DAY 4: JORDAN RIVER AND SEA OF GALILEE

Tiberius: Old Synagogue mosaic and the Hamat-Tiberias excavations, finding place of the Crusader treasure. Capernaum: Byzantine synagogue, St. Peter’s house (ancient domus eclesia), the underground mausoleum. The Upper Jordan Park: short nature hike along the holy river-banks to the site of Bet Tzaida (the third most mentioned place in the New Testament, recently discovered): the fishermen house, the biblical street, the Israelite gate.
** Optional meeting with Dr. Rami Arav, manager of excavations (optional arrival to the site by Kayak boats).
Dinner & overnight Sea of Galilee in Kibbutz En-Gev or similar

DAY 5: UPPER GALILEE, MT. HERMON AND GOLAN HEIGHTS

Visit Dan Nature Reserve: Nature trail amongst the biggest springs of the Holy Land. Tel Dan: the Canaanite Gate, the Temple; Continue to Caesarea Philippi (Banias): Hellenistic Temple of Pan, water cascade, Palace of Philipos and Salome. Ascend the Golan Heights to area of Mt. Hermon & visit Nimrod Fortress (a monumental Muslim fortress from 12-13 centuries); Proceed to visit the Golan archaeological museum of Katzrin
Dinner & overnight at the Sea of Galilee in Kibbutz Ein-Gev or similar
** Optional Jeep ride to Rujum Hiri – a Neolithic “Stonehenge” in the North of Golan.

DAY 6: JORDAN VALLEY AND JUDEAN WILDERNESS

Bet Shean – Schitopolis: Roman Theater and amphitheater, Paladius Street, Canaanite Tel, Philistine temple, new excavation area (finding place of the treasure of Bet Shean). Proceed along Jordan Valley to Jericho.
** Subject to availability & situation: visit Hisham Omayan palace (ancient bathhouse, mosque and mosaics). Visit Tel Jericho (Tel el-Sultan) and meet a Palestinian archeologist; drive through the Judean Wilderness to Wadi Kelt: donkey ride to St. George monastery. Visit Elijah’s cave, hermit’s cells, and the upper monastery.
Dinner & overnight Jerusalem

DAY 7: OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM – LOST TREASURES OF THE TEMPLE

Old City of Jerusalem: King Solomon Temple). Visit Cotton Sellers Market, Western Wall, the Hasmonian Tunnel (from the Mameluke Passage to the Strution Pool); the Litostratus (excavations under the Sisters of Zion Monastery), Bethesda Pool, Crusader Church of St. Ann, Lions Gate; Christian Quarter: Via Dolorosa, Ethiopian Village, Church of the Holy Sepulchre: the Golgotha, Roman Cistern, Josef of Aramathea Tomb.
Dinner & overnight in Jerusalem
**Evening lecture: “Coins of the Bible

DAY 8: JERUSALEM: MT. OF OLIVES AND CITY DAVID

Mt. of Olives: Crusader Church / Mosque of Ascension, archeological site of Dominus Flevit, Grotto of Gethsemane, Mary’s Tomb. On to the ongoing excavations site of City of David: Ben Shafan house, Hezekia’s Pool, Siloam Tunnel and the recent excavation of Siloam Pool. (First Temple period). On to Mt. Zion: King David Tomb, the Upper Room, Chaifa’s House (under Assumpsionist Church: cisterns and storage rooms from 2nd Temple period). Stroll along the Jewish Quarter and visit the archaeological park of Davidson Center in which we will stand on the Southern Wall Steps.
Dinner & overnight in Jerusalem


DAY 9: ISRAEL MUSEUM

Jerusalem: a full day in the Israel Museum – Shrine of the Book (the Dead Sea Scrolls), Biblical Archaeology Department, and the Model of Jerusalem of 2nd Temple period.
*** Optional meeting with Prof. Dan Bahat, archaeologist of the Hebrew University, Christian archaeology exhibition.
Afternoon seminar: “Current Schools in Biblical Archeology”
Dinner & overnight in Jerusalem
  
DAY 10: A DAY AT BETHLEHEM AND SURROUNDINGS

Church of Nativity: Byzantine Basilica, Grotto of Nativity, the ancient Bethlehem (buried under the Greek monastery); Shepherds Field: the new excavations of the Byzantine farm (meet father Girnaux, local archeologist).
* Subject to situation & availability: continue to visit Mt. Herodium, King Herod the Great's desert castle, ancient synagogue, bath house, underground tunnels and cisterns. Proceed to Beit Guvrin. Visit the underground Hellenistic City (including the Sidonian wall paintings and the Omayan quarries).
Dinner & overnight in Jerusalem
** Optional {If not visiting Beit Guvrin}: A ride with a desert-truck through the Judean desert Plateau to Valley of Hurkania: Visit Hasmonian Hurkania fortress and Nebi Mussa – Moses' desert tomb and Muslim “monastery”.

DAY 11: THE DEAD SEA SHORE
Drive to visit Qumran, finding place of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Visit the visitors center, the Essene farm, the Qumran caves (the actual finding place of the Dead Sea Scrolls). Drive along the Dead Sea shore line to visit Massada; The Herodian desert fortress and the Zealots story. PM time we will take a swim & Float in the Dead Sea. Return to our hotel in Jerusalem for a Farewell Dinner.
Dinner & overnight in Jerusalem

DAY 12: JERUSLEM – USA

Transfer to the Ben Gurion Airport; drive along the Emmaus Road to Emmaus Nicopolis. If time permits, we wil visit the excavations, Byzantine Church and local museum.

     


*** Program is subject to changes and availabilities