The highlights of... Israel
Mark Stacey travelled to Israel on a research trip in advance of Cox & Kings introducing tours to Israel for the first time. Here he presents some of his highlights.
The Masada, King Herod's desert fortress on a hilltop overlooking the Dead Sea, is a spectacular place. This was the site of the jews last stronghold in their war against the Romans in around 73 AD. Rather than face slavery the entire population of over a thousand people took their own lives. You can still see the names of the people who were chosen to be the executors written on tiny stones as the besieged population drew lots. You take a cable car up to the spectacular fortress, and it reminds one of something from the Lord of the Rings. It really helps to have a good guide to immerse you in the story of the siege.
I found it fascinating to bring to life the places that you had read and heard about from the bible, it is fascinating to see that they still exist today.
The tour of Tel Aviv by night is well worth doing. The city is a very vibrant place, with lots of buzzing restaurants, bars and clubs. The city also has interesting bauhaus architecture around the UNESCO white city, and superb beaches.
Jerusalem, with its 3,000 years of history, is a fascinating place. Here you can see the Wailing Wall, where you can write a wish on a piece of paper and push it between the cracks of the giant stones of the temple of the Western Wall.
A few miles north of Tiberius on the Sea of Galilea lies the "Jesus Boat" that supposedly dates back from the bible. Uncovered from the mud by two brothers in 1986, the boat is typical of the kind used by fishermen in Jesus' time, and was likely very smilar to those used by Jesus and his disciples.
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