At a merely 25-minute drive east of Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is one of the most extraordinary places on the planet. Its therapeutic water, set in stunning desert landscapes, and combined with some iconic archaeological sites, makes the Dead Sea one of the most popular tour destinations in Israel. Our guided tour proposal will take you to this majestic part of the Holy Land and provide an exclusive tour experience.
Descending from Jerusalem, right away you will feel the elevation change. The urban atmosphere gradually give way to the rural, barren hills of the Judean Desert. On the side of the road, you will notice Bedouin communities, some still living in tents and herding livestock. We could also stop at the sea level sign for a photo opportunity and ride the camel. Upon reaching the Dead Sea shores, the winding road between the steep cliffs and the shoreline will provide some stunning views, as we head to Masada.
Masada is one of the most popular and fascinating tour attractions in Israel. Built by King Herod, his palatial complex is still remarkably preserved. But it the detailed account of the 1st century Jewish refugees’ tragic end here, that is mind boggling. Visiting the rebel’s synagogue is an especially moving experience. Here, possibly, the rebels voted to favor death over Roman slavery. Beyond the rich archaeological finds, the majestic views of the desert from this mountain are simply breathtaking. Make sure you give yourself enough time to comprehend it all before returning to the cable car. At the base of the mountain, the modern visitors center includes an innovative museum, a big souvenir shop, and it can also be a good spot for a lunch break.
For a more unique lunch experience we could drive to Kibbutz Ein Gedi. Here, you join the Kibbutz members in their public dinning hall, preserving the unique kibbutz social lifestyle. This can be followed with a leisure stroll through the kibbutz beautiful botanical gardens. At the nearby Ein-Gedi’s Nature Reserve, we can embark an hour and a half excursion which will include a dip in the refreshing water of this oasis. We can also visit Ein-Gedi’s ancient synagogue, a silent testimony to the rich Jewish life here in later antiquity.
On our way back to Jerusalem, we will pass by the caves where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We will stop to spot the caves, and review the fascinating story of how they were discovered, deciphered, and why are they so important to both Jewish and Christian history. It is also possible to visit Qumran, a mysterious site that may have been the headquarters of the group who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In 1947 two Bedouins found the first of 11 caves, where over 900 scrolls were hidden some 2,000 years ago. Most scholars believe the scrolls represent a Jewish sect whose headquarters was in the nearby site of Qumran. This sect objected to the priests in Jerusalem and lived in anticipation for a messiah. A fascinating and intriguing theory also links this group to John the Baptist and the inception of Christianity.
Of course, no tour to this area is complete without a swim at the Dead Sea! Known for its therapeutic water and mud, we can experience it all at one of the public beaches near Qumran. Feeling rejuvenated, we make our way back to Jerusalem. Great way to end a great day!
Despite its name, the Dead Sea is home for one organism – a sulfide-eating bacteria called Halophilic Archaea.
Danny is incredibly knowledgeable on the biblical, historical and political information surrounding all the sites… As a Christian, Danny has offered me so much insight into the life of Jesus as well.
We are a Christian Family of five from the United States. Danny gave us an outstanding tour of Jerusalem and Herodion. His Archaeology background and knowledge of the Old and the New Testament is impressive and his explanations brought the holy sites to life... Our three teenage children loved his tours!
…It was truly one of the best tours I’ve experienced (and I’ve traveled all over the world). Your archeological and academic background and knowledge, cultural perspective and ability to weave history, personalities, fact and symbolism together into wonderful stories made it all come alive in a magical way.
Thank you so much for the tour yesterday. Was simply superb!
I’d been looking forward to this trip for years; it wouldn’t have been nearly the highlight it was w/o you, your knowledge, insight and friendship. I can’t thank you enough for that..