Private Jerusalem, Jewish Heritage
After meeting your guide at the pier in Ashdod, they will drive you 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 will 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.
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 will 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 will 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 will re-join your transportation and enjoy a drive past the city walls and through the Kidron Valley. From here you will have a view of Absalom's Tomb and the Tomb of Zacharia before it's time to travel back to the pier in Ashdod.
Please note: Due to traffic or crowds at the sites, the tour itinerary may be altered in an attempt to avoid foreseen delays. All sites mentioned in the tour will be visited and crowds are to be expected. Tour times are approximate due to crowds and traffic.