Jerusalem is the epicenter of Western religions, and for Christian believers the sanctity of the Jerusalem is marked all over the city. Mount of Olives marks Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, and later his ascension, to the Heavens. The Christian Quarter marks his death and resurrection. Mount Zion marks the site of the Last Supper, the Pentecost, and other events, just to name a few.
A full day Private tour of Jerusalem, devoted to the Christian heritage of the city, will only reach some of these sites. However, it will cover the highlights, and leave you with the desire to explore more.
Enter the Garden of Gethsemane
Our day will start with a stunning panoramic view of Jerusalem’s Old City from Mount of Olives Viewpoint. This is one of the most beautiful observation points in Israel. It enables a short introduction, a photo opportunity – and even a camel ride. Nearby, we can also visit the Chapel of the Ascension, and the church of Pater Noster (where it’s said that Jesus introduced the Lord’s prayer to his discipiles).
Driving down to the Kidron Valley, we pass by a few more holy Christian sites. One of them is Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept upon his entry to Jerusalem (Luke 19). At the foothill, we will visit the rock venerated as where Jesus cried “please pass this cup away from me,” in the Garden of Gethsemane.
See the Site of The Last Supper
A short and scenic ride around the Cld City will get us to Mount Zion, where we will park the car and embark on a tour by foot for the rest of the day.
Our first stop will be the site that marks The Last Supper (“Cenacle“). Set in a medieval building, here it is said that Jesus predicted the betrayal by Judas, and his own death. Beneath it, you may want to visit the Tomb mark of King David, or a few of the other intriguing Holy Christian sites identified on Mount Zion.
Walk along the Stations of the Cross
Next we enter the Old City. Passing through the Jewish Quarter, we could visit the famed Western wall. Reaching the Muslim Quarter, we join the Via Dolorosa, the traditional path from the site of the trial of Jesus to the site of his crucifixion.
Assessing the Roman Catholic traditions along this holy axis, we pass also pass under “Ecce Homo” Arch, and eventually reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Here, as told in centuries old stories, lies the hill of Jesus’ crucifixion (Golgotha), and his Tomb.
|Church of the Holy Sepulchre|
Possibly the holiest Christian site in the world, this church marks where Jesus was put to death, and resurrected. The place has been worshipped since the 4th century CE and attracts thousands of excited pilgrims on a daily basis. The lines to enter the sacred spots inside the church can be quite long at high season and during mid-day. However, the visit to this church is an exhilarating experience for so many Christians around the world.
A lunch break in the local market (the Suq), is also a good opportunity to purchase some Christian themed souvenirs. Olive wood works are especially popular, and we know a few great places you can go to.
Discover the Armenian Quarter
After a lunch break, we move on to the Armenian Quarter and learn about this fascinating Christian order and its long presence in Jerusalem. Its main church, Saint James Cathedral is open only for 30 minutes every day to the general public, but its absolutely worth it.
Besides the impressive medieval design, you will also be able to view an ages old Armenian procession led by a boys choir.Time permitting, when returning to the car we could visit the resting place of Mary (Dormition Abbey), the site identified by some as the First Century Church. Or, another option could be, the traditional site of the denial of Peter (Petrus in Gallicantu).
This tour is a unique spiritual experience for any Christian or any person wanting to expand their knowledge on Christian Theology and history.