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Price Includes: Flights within Egypt, 5 star lodging in Cairo, 4 1/2 & 5 star lodging in Israel, 5 star Nile Cruise, 4 star lodging in Jordan, 2.5 star lodging at Mt. Sinai, expert Biblical guides, admissions, sightseeing with smaller group size in Israel, buffet breakfast and dinner daily, border taxes ($26), Jordan entry visa for most countries (see "Not Included" section below).
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Please Note: Gratuities will be paid in advance ($264 per person will be added to your final invoice for gratuities to be paid to drivers, guides, cruise and hotel staff).
Not Included: Flight departures (low cost fares available nationwide), transfers (not included unless airfare is purchased from Pilgrim Tours), gratuities, Egyptian visa ($25 Visa obtained for U.S. and Canadian Citizens). Egypt visa fee is payable upon arrival at the Cairo airport and does not need to be purchased in advance. Jordan visa payments are not required for Pilgrim clients originating from USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, & New Zealand. Clients from other countries must be responsible for obtaining Egypt, Jordan, & Israel Visas in advance if required.
Airport transfers are included only when airfare is purchased from Pilgrim Tours. Taxi service is available for those purchasing their airfare elsewhere.
*Customers traveling to Israel that do not provide their full passport information will incur an additional fee of $160 per person to cover the Israel VAT (value-add tax) on their final invoice.
Deposit Required: $300 per person will reserve your place. A $100 service fee will be charged for cancellation at any time in addition to our normal payment and cancellation policy.
Our life-changing journey begins this evening as we board our overnight flight to Cairo, Egypt.
We arrive in the land of the Pharaohs, Jacob, Joseph and Israel during the famine! Upon arrival at the airport we meet our guide and are immediately transported into Cairo, the capital of Egypt. We transfer to our hotel to settle in and start soaking up the atmosphere of this exciting city.
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Luxor. Upon arrive in Luxor we board our lovely river cruise boat and have free time for lunch. This afternoon we visit the Temple of Karnak (temple of the New Kingdom period) and the East Bank of the Nile. It was during this period that the bondage and Exodus occurred. Karnak second to Giza’s Pyramids, is one of Egypt’s most important Pharaonic sites. We visit the famous Temple of Luxor, which was founded in the reign of Amenhotep III, grandson of the pharaoh of the Exodus. Re-board our ship for dinner and overnight.
Today we visit the Valley of the Kings (where many ancient pharaohs were buried) and the famous Temple of Hatshepsut, the princess who perhaps pulled baby Moses out of the Nile River. This temple may have been designed by Moses. We have dinner and overnight on board.
Breakfast is served on board before we spend time touring Edfu, the location of one of the best preserved Egyptian Temples. This afternoon we visit the remains of Kom Ombo Temple, situated on the riverside. Unlike most, this temple is dedicated to two gods - the crocodile god of Sebek and the solar god of war, Horus the Great. We have dinner and overnight on board.
While docked in Aswan, the morning is free to enjoy breakfast, relax on the sun deck, and shop along the waterfront. You may also choose an early departure optional tour to Abu Simbel, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments." Our Egyptologist guide discusses the relevance of this spectacular site from Egyptian history. We will also try to put in perspective the long history of Egypt. Here we visit the massive temple of Pharaoh Rameses II, perhaps the greatest builder of temples in ancient Egypt (13th Century BC) and a second one of Queen Nafertari, Rameses' most beloved wife. This afternoon, we take time to visit the High Dam, built from 1960 – 1971, a major factor in Egypt’s agricultural success. We also spend time at Philae Temple on the Isi-Island. This complex was moved from upriver due to the impending destruction upon the completion of the High Dam. Our sightseeing continues with a Felucca ride around the Agh Khan Mausoleum before returning for dinner and overnight on board.
This morning we take a flight back to Cairo and then a short ride to Memphis. Founded around 3,100 BC, Memphis is the legendary city of Menes, the King who united Upper and Lower Egypt. From a Biblical perspective, Memphis is most likely where Abraham lied to Pharaoh about his wife Sarah being his sister and where Joseph served as second in command. While in Memphis we will view a very large and well preserved statue of Ramses II. Next is Sakkara, which is one of the most extensive archaeological sites in Egypt! Sakkara is dominated by the Step Pyramid of King Zoser, dating back to 2700 BC. It is one of the oldest stone structures in the world! Enjoy a stop to see how local Egyptian carpets are made before a short drive to the south finds us in Faiyum, the region created by the divinely inspired wisdom of Joseph. Here you will find ancient storehouses and a man-made lake created by a canal, whose construction was ordered by Joseph. It was this lake that provided irrigation for a desert land and supplied the food needed to survive his prophesied seven year famine.
Today allows for a full day of touring the wonders of the ancient world, some of which date back to 1000+ years prior to Abraham. We spend time at one of the seven wonders of the world- the pyramids. Cheops, with an original height of 496 feet, is the most colossal pyramid ever built. We will also see the Sphinx and tour the Egyptian Museum, location of Tutankhamen's treasures and ancient remains.
This morning we depart Cairo with stories of the "Land of Goshen" to the north and travel the southward route of the Exodus through the Wilderness of Shur. We learn of the terrain and the history of this region en-route as we stop at Marah (Springs of Moses), the Wilderness of Sin, and further to the south, the Oasis of Feiran. For those who are able, we climb a small hill to the ruins of an ancient chapel that overlooks the palm tree valley where Israel battled with the people of Amalek. One may have his picture taken with arms raised in remembrance of God's victory as Moses' arms were held high by Aaron and Hur. Arriving in the afternoon to the hotel at Mt. Sinai (Mt. Horeb). Those who desire and are physically capable will depart for a memorable walk up Mt. Moses. You may choose to ride a camel part way, stop at one of the stations to take in scenery along the climb to the summit (750 steps) for a sunset to remember. Once at the top, enjoy a time of reflection and praise before departing down the mountain.
A visit to St. Catherine's Monastery, claimed to be built around the area of Moses' Burning Bush, will be followed by a short ride to the Red Sea. A stop for lunch along the shore will provide a view of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel to the north. Gazing across the Gulf of Aqaba, we can begin to imagine the miracle of the parting of the sea. We then travel north viewing the Red Sea en-route to the border crossing between Egypt and Israel. Transferring through Eilat in southern Israel, we arrive in Jordan Aqaba, Biblical Ezion Geber - the lovely seaport of King Solomon. Our lodging this evening will be in Aqaba or Petra.
This morning we visit the amazing mountain fortress of Petra, known to be inhabited by the Edomites - the descendants of Esau. Begin the tour with a walk through the "Siq," an immense crack in the Nubian sandstone, to the city of Petra carved out of the rose red rock. The Treasury, El Khazneh, is one of the most elegant remains of antiquity. Beyond El Khazneh we are surrounded on both sides by hundreds of Petra's carved and built structures. Departing Petra, we travel northward on the King's Highway where to the west we view the hills bordering the Dead Sea. This is the area of the hilltop palace/fortress of Machaerus, where John the Baptist was beheaded. We overnight in Amman for this evening.
Our morning tour begins in the town of Madaba, the biblical Medeba, 30 kilometers south of Amman. Madaba is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics and at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George we view the earliest surviving mosaic map of the Holy land. Mt. Nebo, believed to be the site of the tomb of Moses, commands a spectacular view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. Study the panorama as we read the scripture of God showing Moses the "Promised Land" before He brought him home to heaven. As we travel west toward the Allenby Bridge, we view to the north the Plains of Moab, the area where the tribes of Israel camped before crossing the Jordan and picture Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the place where Jesus was baptized. Crossing back into Israel, we drive to Tel Aviv area with the remainder of the afternoon free. You may wish to take a devotional time with the sunset over the “Great Sea,” a time of prayer and thanks for the special blessings ahead, a prayer for the people of this land, and then enjoy a good night’s rest.
After breakfast, we travel by private motor coach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea, where Gentiles first heard the Good News from Peter and were baptized. We’ll see the Roman Amphitheatre, harbor/palace area and aqueduct, and then journey through the Mt. Carmel range, where Elijah challenged King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Next we travel through the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo, the Armageddon Battlefield, where archaeologists have unearthed 20 levels of civilization. We will have free time, dinner and overnight lodging for the next three nights in the Galilee Region.
Following breakfast, our morning travels take us to two valuable northern sites emphasizing the loss of God's blessing on Israel. Dan is where the children of Israel fell to the depths of pagan worship and Caesarea Philippi which is also the site of Peter’s Confession. Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum formed what has been called the "evangelical triangle," because most of Jesus’ miracles in Galilee were performed in these cities. Of special interest are the ruins of a 1st century synagogue in Chorazin, the House of the Fisherman in Bethsaida. In Capernaum we view the excavations of the sea-side village and Peter’s home, followed by a visit to Magdala, home town of Mary Magdalene. The recent excavation of the First Century Synagogue and well preserved village makes Magdala one of the most interesting Biblical sites in Israel.
We begin our day with a visit to the Jordan River Baptismal site. A mid-morning drive through the hills of Galilee takes us through the area of Cana and Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus, where we visit the Nazareth Village - a wonderful recreation of Biblical times with costumed guides. Continuing toward Tiberias we drive up to Mt. Arbel for a spectacular view of the northern Sea of Galilee allowing for an excellent time of teaching on the region of Jesus' ministry. This afternoon we travel on to the site of the multiplication of loaves and fishes and the Mount of the Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee followed by a relaxing boat cruise. A brief scripture reading and devotional on board brings to life the experiences of Jesus and the fishermen disciples. We dock at a working Kibbutz and visit the famous Fisherman Boat from the days of Jesus, a conclusion to a wonderful day.
We begin our day by traveling southward to Beit-Shean/Scythopolis, the most magnificent archeological site in Israel, located at the strategic juncture of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. Like Jericho, it has been almost continuously occupied throughout history. After defeating Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, the Philistines hanged their bodies on the walls of Beit-Shean. During the intertestamental period, the city was renamed the "Scythopolis." Archaeologists have uncovered a huge number of ruins of the Roman/Byzantine Scythopolis. During the time of Jesus, Scythopolis was one of the chief cities of the Decapolis -a league of ten cities sharing Greek culture and government. Following the fertile Jordan Valley southward, your guide will point out the agricultural restoration of the “Land of Milk and Honey” and Israel’s intricate irrigation development. We pass ancient Jericho, view from a distance this city famed as the oldest in the world, before coming to the Jordan River (Queser El Yehud) the Israeli side of Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, where Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan as well as the area where the children of Israel led by Joshua entered the Promised land. Our lodging for the evening is at the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth. Spend time in the special spa and enjoy a dip in the Dead Sea for a relaxing float before dinner.
Our day begins with a cable car ride to the mountain top fortress of Masada. Here our guide will treat us to the history of the famous zealot stand. Afterwards we proceed to Ein Gedi, "Spring of the Goat," an oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea. Because of its warm climate and abundant supply of water, the site developed a reputation for its fragrant plants and date palm groves. This is where King David hid from Saul, and where God defeated the enemies of the Israelites by praise and worship led by King Jehoshaphat. Next, we visit Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. This afternoon we will take part in the Genesis Land/Dinner in Abraham's Tent, where we enjoy a trip back in time: a reliving of life in the time of the Patriarchs, complete with costume, dramatic presentation, camel ride and authentic food. Our lodging for the next five nights will be in Jerusalem.
Passing by the Protestant Cemetery, we visit the "Upper Room" just outside the Zion Gate where the disciple whom Jesus loved laid his head on His breast and where later Thomas cried, "my Lord & my God." An interesting and educational time awaits us at the Israeli Museum. Walk through collections of centuries old Israeli artifacts including the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a then a guided walk through an accurately detailed model of Biblical Jerusalem will help to prepare you for what you will experience in the following days. Next, we visit the Friends of Zion Museum to learn of the 19th and 20th century heroes of the Jewish people. We conclude the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum, for a needed reminder of what the Jews have suffered as a people.
Today we walk where Jesus walked; beginning the day with a panoramic view of the city, Mount Moriah and the Dome of the Rock from atop the Mount of Olives and then the Garden of Gethsemane. How many have wished to be whisked back in time to get a glimpse of our Lord or hear His voice if only for a moment? To walk between the ancient olive trees, read the scriptures of Jesus' prayer and take time for personal reflection is important here. Next we visit the House of Caiaphas where Jesus was beaten and spit upon. See a pit where he may have been held for the evening and the ancient hillside steps he walked as he was taken to be condemned. On our way into the city we will visit the Wailing Wall and then the fascinating Rabbinical Tunnels leading us through the Second Temple era. The tunnel and exhibit give a clear understanding of the amazing construction of the Temple Mount, giant stones, water supply and Roman street where our Lord was led to judgment. Before exiting the tunnel we see the immense cornerstone rejected by the builders. We move on to the Judgment Hall of Pilate, hear of those who conspired against Him and are reminded of His brutal beating and humiliation. This evening we enjoy a special lecture by a local believer prior to dinner, giving us a perspective of Messianic life in Israel.
We begin our sightseeing just outside the Dung Gate on the southeastern hill below the Temple Mount in the City of David. It was during the time of Solomon that the city limits extended past this part of Jerusalem. We visit Gihon Springs, the original water source for Jerusalem, view new excavations including a typical Israelite four-room house, the lower city wall. A highlight today will be a water walk through the incredible Hezekiah's Tunnel to the pool of Siloam, the place of Jesus' miracle in John 9. Before returning to our hotel, our guide will take us to an overview of the city from the hillside overlooking Jerusalem and the Gehenna Valley. This meaningful teaching time will bring together the many things that you have seen to date.
While walking along the Via Dolorosa, we are reminded of His way of suffering along with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Our guide will explain the differing opinions on the route that Christ was led and the actual place of crucifixion and burial is a very interesting study. The climax of the day is the area of Golgotha (place of the skull) and the Garden Tomb, where we celebrate the resurrection with communion and a time of praise. This afternoon we visit the Southern Wall Excavations. This southern side of The Temple was the main entrance for the common folk, whereas the Priests and Levites had their own entrance from the higher eastern side. Parts of the giant stairs, which led to the Temple Mount from the courtyard have been unearthed along with the purification pools. From here Jesus entered the Temple Mount and drove out the vendors and money exchangers who were exploiting the people. It is also likely that this is the place that Peter stood and preached and where thousands were saved and baptized on the Day of Pentecost. We will enjoy a challenge from God’s word and a song before an optional time this afternoon. We spend the remainder of the day surrounding the birth of Christ with a visit to Bethlehem.
A very early morning departure for the Tel Aviv Airport for our flight homeward will allow for arrival home by early afternoon.
Important Note: Although the itinerary above obviously emphasizes the spiritual aspect of this marvelous country, our guides are also experts in and passionate about the miracle of the return of the Jews and the restoration of the state of Israel. This fact, along with many modern day topics (military, politics, education, and other cultural aspects), will be woven into the commentary in order to give you well rounded information.