Kao Gu Israel & Jordan

Compelling archeological sites, fascinating Biblical locations and a private tour of King David’s fortress of Zion await.

Kao Gu Israel & Jordan New Reality

(Countries Visited)

Jordan

,

Israel


(Interest Type(s))
(Tour Length)

11 Days


Tour Highlights

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  • Visit the lesser toured Beit Shean, one of the most outstanding excavation sites in the Middle East as it is known to have at least 15 occupation layers – meaning that 15 cities jumbled on top of each other!
  • As a Big Five guest, you enjoy special access to the Western Wall tunnels, also known as the Rabbinical Tunnels, an exciting archeological site where you will see the foundation of the great temple built by King Herod.
  • Explore the City of David, King David’s “fortress of Zion,” where Biblical Jerusalem was established 3,000 years ago, and meet one of the project archeologists, who will give you a private tour during which you will be allowed to visit ongoing excavation areas which are closed to the public.
  • At the Israel Museum, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and many other treasures, you will meet privately,  by special appointment, the museum’s curator who will tell you about their unique work and the museum laboratories.
  • Explore Jordan’s ancient Rose City of Petra, carved out of giant canyon walls more than 2,000 years ago.

 

Day 1:  Arrive Tel Aviv, Israel
Arrive Ben Gurion International Airport.  After clearing immigration, baggage claim and customs, you are greeted by our local representative and privately transferred to your hotel in Tel Aviv.  David Intercontinental - Executive Club Room

Day 2:  Tel Aviv / Caesarea / Megiddo / Haifa / Tiberias
You will start the day with a visit to the Roman port of Caesarea, built by King Herod.  “Queen of the Coast,”  Herod’s showcase city features amphitheater, theater; Byzantine walls, the “bird mosaic,” the Crusader city,  aqueduct and more.  Continue on to the ancient Solomonic city of Megiddo, exploring the ancient city, the Early Bronze Age temples and the city’s amazing water system.  Arrive in Haifa atop Mount Carmel to investigate the Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum at Haifa University.  This fine museum exhibits an outstanding collection of Phoenician artifacts.  You also have the opportunity to visit one of the most amazing hanging gardens in the world, the Bahai Center Persian Gardens before you drive east towards the Sea of Galilee.  Along the way, stop in Zippori,  one of the most beautiful archeological sites in Israel where you will encounter the Mona Lisa of the Galilee.  This exquisite and well-preserved mosaic, unearthed inside a building referred to as the Roman villa, received the nickname because she seems to have the same quality of timelessness and of superb artistry.  Arrive in Tiberias and check in to your deluxe hotel.  The Scots Hotel – Antique Lake View Room (B)

Day 3:  Tiberias / Capernaum / Beit Shean / Jerusalem
The first stop this morning is Capernaum, the site of Jesus’ three-year ministry.  Visit the ruins of the 4th-century synagogue believed to be the house of St. Peter.  Continue to Belvoir, one of the nicest castles built by the crusaders in the 12th century during crusades to the Holy Land.  It has a great view of the Jordan River and beyond to the Kingdom of Jordan.  Then, you are off to Beit Shean, one of the most outstanding, yet often overlooked, excavation sites in the Middle East.  The city was important historically due to its geographical location at the junction of the Jordan River Valley and Jezreel Valley.  There are many mounds in the valley, which contain cities from the past lying buried in them.  Beit Shean is probably the most important of these.  Tel Beit Shean, a part of the National Park on the site, contains 15 subsequent occupation layers – meaning that 15 cities jumbled on top of each other!  You will visit the theater, the Cardo, the Hot Bath and more.  On the road to Jerusalem, you will stop at the inn of the Good Samaritan to visit a small new museum showing wonderful mosaic floors found in excavations in the area.  These sites are well off the beaten track for most visitors to Israel.  Upon arrival in Jerusalem,  go up the Mount of Olives for an amazing view of the entire old city of Jerusalem, Mount Moria and the golden dome Muslim shrine – the Dome of the Rock.  These views will give you a clearer understanding of Jerusalem’s geographical position and will help you get the proper orientation for tomorrow’s city tour.  The King David Jerusalem Hotel – Executive Old City Room (B)

Day 4:  Jerusalem
Begin the day with a visit to the old city, entering the walled city via the Zion gate and the Jewish quarter.  Here you will visit the Roman Cardo, the “Broad wall,” the Herodian quarter, the basement of a Jerusalem home revealing dramatic evidence of the history of one family, the Katros, who probably lived and worked here, and of Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 CE.  You then arrive at the Western wall, the only relic from the great Temple and the most sacred site for the Jewish people.  Here, by special appointment, you will visit the Western Wall tunnels, also known as the Rabbinical Tunnels, one of the most exciting Archeological sites. During the visit you will see the foundation of the great temple built by King Herod.  You will also see the original Western Wall as you walk along 1,445 feet of the original, enormous 2,000-year-old Herodian stones, seeing the lofty Warren’s Gate, a street and other finds.  You will then explore more of the old city such as the pools of Bethesda, the Via Dolorosa, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher – most of the complex over the sacred ground marking the tomb of Jesus is a complicated combination of medieval and Byzantine architecture.  Deep below the surface are remains going back to a First Temple-era stone quarry and the world-famous and rarely viewed “ship inscription,”  probably carved by a long-ago pilgrim.  You will have time to walk and explore the colorful Arab Bazaar.  You end the tour at the Jaffa gate where you will visit the Tower of David Museum inside the rooms of Jerusalem’s Turkish (Ottoman) citadel.  Each of the many rooms features exhibits devoted to a different time-period, clarifying the capital’s complex history.  Next is one of the highlights of your Jerusalem tour.  Explore the city’s historical layers at the City of David, King David’s “fortress of Zion,” where Biblical Jerusalem was established 3,000 years ago.  The ongoing excavations include a royal palace, the “water fortress” of the Gihon (1 Kings 1:33), the Second Temple-era Pool of Siloam (John 9:7) and a 2,000-year-old street that once led up to the Temple.  Here you will meet one of the project Archeologists who will give you a private tour during which you will be allowed to visit ongoing excavation areas which are still closed to the public.  The excavations have exposed the city and shaft leading from the city to the water supply in the Kidron Valley.  You will examine Hezekiah’s Tunnel,  built by King Hezekiah 3000 years ago,  which was built through the rock under the city to divert the water into an inner city reservoir, the Gihon Spring and Pool of Siloam.  The King David Jerusalem Hotel – Executive Old City Room (B)

Day 5:  Jerusalem
Your first stop this morning is the Model of Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple (2000 years ago).  The remainder of the morning is devoted to your visit at the Israel Museum, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and many other treasures, and the Billy Rose sculpture gardens.  Here by special appointment you will have a private meeting with the Museum’s curator who will tell you about their unique work and the Museum Laboratories.  Later you will be driven to Mount Scopus and have a chance to participate in a special archaeological project, the "Screening and sifting the Temple Mount Waste project”.  This project, under the supervision of Dr. Gabi Barkai and Tzachi Schwieg of Bar Ilan University, is designed to discover archaeological remains that were in the Temple Mount and were thrown out by the Muslim Waqf during digging there in 1999.  In the course of the sifting project thousands of items from all periods have been discovered including fragments of stone decorated with ornaments known to be from the Second Temple Period such as arrowheads from Nebuchadnezzar's army and from the Romans as well as coins and decorations from all the periods.  Among the most exciting finds were bullae (seal rings), written in ancient Hebrew.  You will end the day with a visit to another very important archeological site – the Davidson Center and the southern wall excavations site.  Here you will learn about the great Temple based on the findings in the excavations that took place here during the last 30 years.  The King David Jerusalem Hotel – Executive Old City Room (B)

Day 6:  Jerusalem / Tel Maresha / Herodion / Bethlehem / Jerusalem
Today, drive south to the Hellenistic city of Biet Guvrin / Tel Maresha where you will meet with the archeologist in charge.  He will give you a short background talk on the site and then you will get your buckets and shovels and dig-in!  After an hour or so, you will then visit the site, an enormous underground city.  From here you will drive to Herodion, a cone shape mountain south of Jerusalem built as a fortress by King Herod.  After a 30 year quest, archeologist Ehud Netzer recently found the royal tomb of King Herod on the slope of Herodion.  Travel to Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus, to the ancient Byzantine church built over the manger.  Return to Jerusalem.  The King David Jerusalem Hotel – Executive Old City Room (B)

Day 7:  Jerusalem / Dead Sea / Masada / Aqaba, Jordan
This special day begins with an early drive through the Judean Wilderness.  Your first stop will be to Qumran, believed to have been an Essene settlement whose library housed the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in nearby caves.  Next you will ascent to the great fortress of Masada. Built by Herod as a sanctuary, it was later occupied by the Zealots and others fleeing the Romans.  From the summit of Masada, you view the southern part of the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab on the east.  After lunch (and swim or float at the Dead Sea waters), you journey south to the border crossing between Israel and Jordan near the shores of the Red Sea and the cities of Eilat and Aqaba.  After crossing the border, you will be met by your Jordanian guide and driven to Aqaba and your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Kempinski Aqaba Hotel – Superior Room (B,L,D)

Day 8:  Aqaba / Wadi Rum / Petra
This morning, you will be driven to Wadi Rum, a timeless place where the winds have carved towering skyscrapers of rock and sand.  The fabled T.E. Lawrence described this as as “vast, echoing and god-like…”  A maze of monolithic rockscapes rises up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750 meters creating a natural challenge for serious mountaineers.  Your first visit is Jebel Kharaz, a graceful arch, located about 40 kms from the village of Rum.  Traditionally the Bedouin of this area have used the arch as a shelter in bad weather, and nowadays it is more than likely that you would see them still there, offering tea or coffee, or even a camel ride!  People before the Bedouin obviously found the arch a useful shelter and meeting place, and around Jebel Kharaz there are a number of signs of the Nabatean people.  There are some very clear Thamudic-style drawings as well as 4,000-year-old rock drawings.  Then onto Petra, one of Jordan's and the indeed the world’s treasures.  Petra is the legacy of the Nabateans, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2,000 years ago, with some of the most famous buildings carved out of sandstone rock cliffs along a narrow canyon.  Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels, Petra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that enchants visitors from all corners of the globe.  Movenpick Resort Petra – Standard Room (B,D)

Day 9:  Petra / Amman
You will spend the morning exploring Petra.  Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place.  Often described as the eighth wonder of the ancient world, it is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face with the entrance to the city through the Siq, a narrow gorge over 1 kilometer in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80 meters high cliffs.  Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself.  The colors and formations of the rocks are dazzling.  As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh (Treasury).  A massive façade, 30 meters wide and 43 meters high, carved out of the sheer, dusky pink, rock-face and dwarfing everything around it.  It was carved in the early 1st century as the tomb of an important Nabataean king and represents the engineering genius of these ancient people.  You will then drive along the Desert Highway north to Amman and your hotel for dinner and overnight.  Four Seasons Hotel Amman – Deluxe Room (B,D)

Day 10:  Amman – Madaba – Tal Jalloul – Mt Nebo - Amman
This morning, you will drive to Madaba, best known for reaching its height during the Byzantine Period when it was the seat of the archbishop.  Many famous mosaics are from this period.  At the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, you view the earliest surviving original map of Holyland, a 6th century mosaic map of Palestine.  Containing a great number of details, it also includes a depiction of the fauna and flora in the different regions.  Travel to Tal Jallol, which has a newly excavated site of an Iron Age city located on the top of an artificial hill.  The excavations showed that the site was inhabited during the Ammonite period as it was on the cross road of a caravan routes.  Mount Nebo - Moses' mountain as mentioned in the New Testament, is believed to be where Moses died after wandering with his people through the desert for forty years.  At the top of the mountain, you get a grand view of the Dead Sea.  In favorable weather, you can see as far as Jerusalem.  In the church are several lovely mosaics from the 6th century.  Your last stop of the day is a visit at Bethany Beyond the Jordan, site of John the Baptist's settlement and where Jesus was baptized.  It has long been known from the Bible (John 1:28 and 10:40) and from the Byzantine and medieval texts.  The site has now been identified on the east bank of the Jordan River, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  The  area formed part of the early Christian pilgrimage route between Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and Mount Nebo.  The area is also associated with the biblical account of how the Prophet Elijah (Mar Elias in Arabic) ascended to heaven in a whirlwind on a chariot of fire.  Four Seasons Hotel Amman – Deluxe Room (B,D)

Day 11:  Amman / Depart
This morning, enjoy a tour of Amman, Jordan’s capital city, which was known in eras past as Rabat and in Greco-Roman times as Philadelphia.  Sites of specific int
rest include the colossal Roman Amphitheatre and the Citadel, which offers sweeping views of the capital.  You will then visit the Hijjazz Railway Main Station for an insider’s visit of the museum.  After your visit, you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure flight to your next destination.  (B)

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