Major Sites and Sounds

Masada

Masada is a rugged natural fortress, of majestic beauty, in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 A.D. It was built as a palace complex, in the classic style of the early Roman Empire, by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, (reigned 37 – 4 B.C.). The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day.

masada

 

 

Old City of Acre

Acre is a historic walled port-city with continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. The present city is characteristic of a fortified town dating from the Ottoman 18th and 19th centuries, with typical urban components such as the citadel, mosques, khans and baths. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact, both above and below today's street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem.
 

Old City of Acre

 

Bahai Holy Places

The Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee are inscribed for their profound spiritual meaning and the testimony they bear to the strong tradition of pilgrimage in the Bahá’i faith. The property includes the two most holy places in the Bahá’í religion associated with the founders, the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in Acre and the Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, together with their surrounding gardens, associated buildings and monuments. These two shrines are part of a larger complex of buildings, monuments and sites at seven distinct locations in Haifa and Western Galilee that are visited as part of the Bahá’i pilgrimage.
 

Bahai Holy Places

 

Caesarea

Caesarea’s antiquities park is one of Israel’s most impressive parks, housing unique buildings from various periods, bearing silent witness to the upheavals that have visited Caesarea over the past 2,300 years. Standing side by side over an area of 500 dunams (125 acres), there are architectural remains from the Hellenistic period (the 3rd century BCE) to the Crusader period (the 12th century), when Caesarea was a port city and spent many years as Israel’s capital. Caesarea was given to King Herod as a present by Augustus Caesar and is named after him. Herod built a massive port there alongside entertainment facilities, bathhouses and temples. In the Byzantine period, Caesarea was an important Christian center. The early fathers of Christianity (Origen and Eusebius) lived there and according to Christian tradition it was here that the first idol worshiper was converted - the Roman centurion Cornelius. In the Crusader period the city was fortified with walls and gates, which were eventually destroyed by the Mamluk Conquest in the 13th century.
 

Caesarea

 

Mount of Beatitudes

Located on a small hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee near Tabgha, the Mount of Beatitudes is the traditional site of Jesus' delivery of the Sermon on the Mount, probably the most famous sermon of all time. Pilgrims have been drawn to this scenic place since at least the 4th century.

Capernaum
Capernaum is an ancient fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. It is home to a celebrated Byzantine-era synagogue as well as the house where Jesus healed a paralytic and St. Peter's mother-in-law.
 

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Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, known as the Church of the Resurrection(Anastasis) to Eastern Orthodox Christians, is a church in the Old City ofJerusalem that is the holiest Christian site in the world. It stands on a site that is believed to encompass both Golgotha, or Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, and the tomb (sepulchre) where he was buried. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre has been an important pilgrimage destination since the 4th century.
 

Holy Sepulchre

 


Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of all Nations


Early Christian pilgrims located the Garden of Gethsemane at the bottom of the slope of the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple Mount.  Byzantine, Crusader and a modern church were built successively on the site where it is believed that Jesus prayed to the Father hours before his crucifixion.  The modern Church of All Nations has a beautiful mosaic on its facade.

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Olives Trees in Gethsemane


Adjacent to the Church of All Nations is an ancient olive garden.  Olive trees do not have rings and so their age can not be precisely determined, but scholars estimate their age to anywhere between one and two thousand years old.  It is unlikely that these trees were here in the time of Christ because of the report that the Romans cut down all the trees in the area in their siege of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Olives Trees in Gethsemane

 

Dome of the Rock


The most famous Islamic site in Jerusalem is the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat as-Sakhrah). An impressive and beautiful edifice, the Dome of the Rock can be seen from all over Jerusalem. It is the crowning glory of the Haram es-Sharif ("Noble Sanctuary"), or Temple Mount.

The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, but a Muslim shrine. Like the Ka'ba inMecca, it is built over a sacred stone. This stone is believed to be the place from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven during his Night Journey to heaven.

The Dome of the Rock is the oldest Islamic monument that stands today and certainly one of the most beautiful. It also boasts the oldest surviving mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca) in the world.

Dome of the Rock

 


Via Dolorosa


For many Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem, the most important and meaningful thing they will do while in the city is walk the Via Dolorosa, the route that Jesus took between his condemnation by Pilate and his crucifixion and burial. The Via Dolorosa pilgrimage is followed by Christians of many denominations, but especially Catholics and Orthodox.
 

Via Dolorosa

 

Wailing  Wall


The Western Wall (Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma'aravi) in Jerusalem is the holiest of Jewish sites, sacred because it is a remnant of the Herodian retaining wall that once enclosed and supported the Second Temple. It has also been called the "Wailing Wall" by European observers because for centuries Jews have gathered here to lament the loss of their temple.

The Western Wall Plaza, the large open area that faces the Western Wall, functions as an open-air synagogue that can accommodate tens of thousands of worshipers. Prayers take place here day and night, and special services are held here as well.
 

Wailing  Wall

 

Church of Nativity


The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a major Christian holy site, as it marks the traditional place of Christ's birth. It is also one of the oldest surviving Christian churches.

Church of Nativity