A settlement from the Second Temple Period, this was home to the sect of Jews escaping the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. It is also where a local shepherd found the Dead Sea Scrolls which include the oldest known copies of the Old Testament ever found. Other literary treasures found with this trove include the “Yahad” scroll, the scroll of the “War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness”, and the “Temple” scroll.
Home to many artists displaying their work along the picturesque alleys of this ancient village, Ein Kerem is also the seat of several Christian sites including the Church of John in the Mountains where John the Baptist was born. We will also visit the Church of the Visitation and the Convent of the Sisters of Zion. Adjacent to Ein Kerem is the Monastery of John in the Desert at Even Sapir.
From a high point in the Judean hills we will observe the Mar Saba Monastery and visit Mount Muntar and Chan El-Ahmar. We will see the operational Mar Saba Monastery, the ruins of a large Byzantine monastery, Hasmonean fortresses, and Nebi-Moussa.
We can also choose to extend the tour towards the south along the cliffs of He'etekim. This route is available in all seasons except the summer.
Stella Maris is the Carmelite Monastery atop Mount Carmel, founded during The Crusades.
Also on the Carmel is the “Horn of the Carmel” (in Arabic: Dir El Muhraka), an ancient place of Hebrew worship where the prophet Elijah is said to have confronted the worshippers of Ba'al. A fire then descended from heaven to consume the object of his sacrifice.
Qasr-el-Yahud (Temple of the Jews) was most likely the site of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Numerous monasteries were founded in the Judean desert during the third century A.D, as the story goes that Jesus went into this desert following his baptism and was tested there by the Devil.
We will visit the infamous Inn of the Good Samarian on the way between Jericho to Jerusalem.