This unforgettable tour offers an excellent opportunity to experience some of mankind's most impressive and moving sights. Following the ancient route leading from Jaffa to Jerusalem, your coach will ascend into the stark, yet strikingly beautiful Judean Hills. As you wind your way through the hills, you will pass the Castle fortification before arriving at the remarkable Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. The museum, which was opened in 2005, is dedicated to documenting the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, emphasizing each victim's experience through original artifacts, survivor testimonies and personal possessions. This unique perspective is presented in a sprawling complex of tree-studded walkways that lead to museums, exhibits, archives, monuments, sculptures and memorials.
Leaving Yad Vashem, you'll navigate your way into Jerusalem, viewing some of Israel's most notable landmarks, such as the Hebrew University, home to 2005 Nobel Prize winner Professor Emeritus Robert J. Aumann, the Israel Museum, the Shrine of the Book, the Knesset (Israel's Parliament) and the State Supreme High Court before stopping for lunch at a local hotel.
Your afternoon begins with a walking tour of the old city. Entering via the Zion Gate, scene of some of the fiercest fighting in Jerusalem during the siege of 1948, your walk will take you past some of the most sacred sites in religious history. As you make your way through the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, you'll see the Cardo, Jerusalem's main thoroughfare during the Roman and Byzantine eras. You will also see the newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue. Burned by angry creditors in 1720, it was rebuilt in 1856, only to be destroyed again during the 1948 conflict. Descending into the lower city, you'll view the Temple Mount and the golden-topped Dome of the Rock. With its stunning blue and gold ceramic tiles, this amazing shrine built in the late 7th century is considered the third holiest site in Islam. You will also visit the famous Western (Wailing) Wall, the holiest site in the Jewish world because it is believed to have been closest to where the Holy Ark once stood.
Exiting the Old City, you'll re-join your coach and enjoy a drive past the city walls and through the Kidron Valley before it's time to travel back to the pier in Ashdod.