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The Holy Land
Jerusalem is home to the three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Inside the Old City, as well as the areas surrounding the Old City, such as the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion are filled with religious shrines and archeological treasures. Spend a morning on the Mount of Olives and visit the Church of the Ascension, the Pater Noster Church, and Dominus Flevit. Walk down the Palm Sunday road and visit the Gardens and Grotto of Gethsemane. After lunch spend the afternoon on Mount Zion visiting the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the Dormition Abbey, and the Last Supper Room at the Cenacle.
A tour of the Old City is a once in a lifetime experience. Walking through one of the gates into the Old City brings about a feeling of transformation. The atmosphere, the sounds, and scents, and the diversity of people and faiths inside the Walls is a unique and memorable experience for any visitor. Shops line all the streets and alleyways and there are many markets to explore from the spice market to the meat market. Visitors can spend the entire day walking around the Old City visiting some of the most significant sites of the major Abrahamic religions. Spend the morning at the third holiest site in Islam, Haram As-Sharif and the Dome of the Rock. Visit the Western Wall sacred to jews from around the world. Finally, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the site of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jerusalem also offers visitors an amazing travel and cultural experience. The hotel and restaurant scene in East Jerusalem is diverse, vibrant, and ready to cater to all needs. Superior hotels, such as the Ambassador and American Colony, are located within walking distance of the Old City. There are also several hostels and religious guest houses in and around the Old City. Dining options in Jerusalem are especially diverse. Be sure to try a nice falafel sandwich in the Old City and enjoy a nice dinner or drink at one of the many restaurants throughout the city. Be sure to check local listings for any special events or festivals taking place during your visit. The annual Jerusalem Music festival takes place every summer and there are many art museums and cultural centers to check out.
Bethlehem of Judea, the city which irreversibly engraved the history of mankind. In Hebrew the name Bethlehem means the house of bread, the Bread of life. According to the gospels of Matthew (2:1) and Luke (2:1-15), it is the birth place of Jesus. Bethlehem is also called Ephratah and Bethlehem-city of David to distinguish it from the similarly named city of Bethlehem on the south of Galilee. In the 4th century between the years 327-333 Saint Helen constructed a magnificent Basilica above the nativity cave of Christ, drastically contributing to the transformation of this small insignificant village into an important pilgrim site. The interior of the Basilica is sustained to its original form to this day. It is a five-aisled Basilica, the aisles been separated by forty monolith pillars of the Corinthian style. The pillars depict various Saints of the Eastern Church. Most of the nativity cave is engraved on the natural rock while the remaining part is built.